JIS News

The Jamaica Military Aviation School (JMAS) on December 10 graduated its third batch of military student pilots at a wings presentation ceremony at the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Air Wing, Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston.
The graduates, Lieutenants Damian MacKay and Jermaine Francis, were presented with their military wings by the JDF’s Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Antony Anderson, during the function attended by military and diplomatic officials, family members and other guests.
The ceremony and presentations marked the culmination of 10 months of training in primary flying (basic and extended); rotary wing training; and multi-engine training. The pilots, who joined the JDF in 2007, each completed training overseas before returning to the island to pursue the JMAS course.
Major General Anderson, in congratulating the graduates, told them that there is much they can achieve in their careers, noting that “we need to see you develop as leaders and as officers.”
“Wearing those wings comes with a lot of responsibility; it’s going to require you to mature very quickly. You will have significant assets at your disposal and it’s important that you try your best to preserve those assets. You are in a serious business and it can be unforgiving,” he said.
The JDF Chief implored them to maintain the high standards to which they have been exposed, and to execute their duties with professional integrity.
Major General Anderson said it is the JDF’s intention to develop the services offered at the JMAS.
“We are looking at bringing home the technician training that we have done in Canada since 1984, and bringing it here on this compound to do that part of our training. So we will have military technician training as well,” he said.
He said JMAS will be collaborating with institutions, such as the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) and the Coast Guard, to present a centre of excellence for coast guard training for the region.
“It’s a time of partnerships, not only will we partner with other militaries, but we are partnering with local education institutions like CMI and HEART Trust/NTA, with the purpose of developing furthered human resources because that is what allows us to operate,” he said.
He credited the outputs of the JMAS, since its inception in 2006, to the support it continues to receive from various local and international partners, including the governments of Jamaica and Canada, the Canadian Armed Forces and the Belize Defence Force.
He said nine pilots from the JDF have graduated from the institution since 2007, while three pilots have graduated from the Belize Defence Force, adding that “the school is fulfilling its mandate, we just need to expand it.”
JMAS Commandant, Lt. Col. Geoffrey Roper, told the graduates that the completion of the course of study is a significant step towards furthering their military careers and personal development.
Lt. Francis was presented with the Commandant’s Award for being adjudged the top student, having achieved best overall average in academics and flying, and consistently performing above average in the JMAS officer development programme.