One hundred and forty members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) on Friday (July 30) received the 2021 Medal of Honour for General Service.
The medals were presented by Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, and Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, during the JDF’s Armed Forces Day Parade at Up Park Camp.
Most recipients were from the junior ranks and there was a special presentation of citations by the Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant-General Rocky Meade.
Some 1,044 members of the JDF were published for the Medal of Honour for General Service for various operations conducted from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2019. These medals were with effect from May 23, 2021. Of the number, 125 were females. Other presentations will be made by the Chief of Defence Staff beginning tomorrow (July 31).
The parade featured the Royal Salute, helicopter fly-past, and a display of military equipment and vehicles. There was also musical entertainment by the Military Mass Band, comprising the JDF Band and Jamaica Regiment Drum Corps.
Some of the dignitaries attending the function were President of the Senate, Senator Tom Tavares-Finson; Member of Parliament, East Kingston and Port Royal, Phillip Paulwell; Commissioner of Police, Major General, Antony Anderson; senior members of the JDF and permanent secretaries.
In Jamaica, Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the establishment of the Jamaica Defence Force on July 31 as JDF Founders’ Day. The first Armed Forces Day was held in 1981. Traditionally, the Armed Forces Day Parade was a tribute to the former and present members of the armed forces of Jamaica. This parade was an occasion where former members of the armed forces reunited with those who now serve, to recognise the continuation of the profession of arms and of national service in the military.
The commemorative presentations are also linked to the celebrations associated with Jamaican Independence. The themes surround pertinent aspects of the Jamaican Military and notable Jamaican events. These include the presentation of medals and colours. The JDF intended the Armed Forces Day to be a true representation of the Defence Force for the public.
The Medal of Honour for General Service may be awarded to officers and members of the Jamaica Defence Force who have been engaged in military operations overseas or in other areas as may be specified by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Chief of Defence Staff. Consideration may be given to the award of the medal and clasp to personnel who have engaged in special hazardous operations for a comparatively short duration.