JIS News

The remarkable dexterity of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), and other local and international uniformed groups, thrilled the thousands of Jamaicans, who attended last night’s (June 28) opening of theJamaica Military Tattoo 2012.

From an exhilarating parachute-jump display, to a dramatic search and rescue enactment, the audience remained riveted throughout the three-hour long show held at the JDF’s Polo Field at Up Park Camp.

The four-day show of military and non-military expertise and precision, which runs from June 28 to July 1, is set against a spectacular backdrop depicting the Force’s New Castle training centre.

It is being held in recognition and celebration of Jamaica’s and the JDF’s Golden Anniversary and is showcasing the JDF’s capabilities and contribution to the nation since its inception, through performances showcasing land, air and sea elements of the force.

A patron, Jason Mighty, told JIS News that the show was fascinating and the different activities were “very informative and entertaining”.

“You can see that the activities are well rehearsed and very well put together and presented to the spectators,” he said. Mr. Mighty said he was enthralled by the drill done by the soldiers. “I liked the precision of their movements, all of that intricacy that they displayed,” he said.

Dave Blake said the “performances have been very interesting,” noting that he was most entertained by the performances of the women of the JDF and the exercise involving the dismantling and re-assembling of a jeep in less than four minutes.

Another audience member, Kayon Burton, said she “liked the fact that they started on time,” and was impressed by the coast guard rescue enactment “the way that they depicted the ship seemed like it was actually on sea.”

Being staged for the first time in nearly 30 years, the tattoo is being held under the theme: ‘Precision, Pomp and Pageantry: The First Five Decades’. The programme, over the four-nights, will showcase lively marching bands, precision drill movements and dynamic military displays and performances by the uniformed groups.

Among the highlights of the show, which featured 850 performersand involved military-drill routines, physical-education drills and quasi martial arts demonstrations, was the breathtaking parachute-jump display by theGuyanese Defence Force’s Paratroopers.

Performances included items from the Jamaica Constabulary Force; the Jamaica Combined Cadet Force; Jamaica Fire Brigade; the Canadian Force’s composite Pipes and Drum Band; the British Armed Force’s Royal Marines Band Service; troops from the People’s Republic of China; the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra; and the Bermuda Regiment.

A highlight of the event is the ‘Tattoo Village’which features an interactive area and static displays by the various units of the JDF, as well as displays from sponsors, information points, memorabilia outlets, and a food court.

The term Tattoo is derived from the Dutch phrase “doe den tap toe” which means “turn off the taps” and was communicated by drum beat (and later by bugle call) as a warning to innkeepers that they should turn off the beer taps and for soldiers to return to their quarters for the night.

Today, it has evolved into an elaborate display of lively marching bands, precision drill movements and dynamic military displays and performances by other non-military organizations and agencies.

There have been four Tattoos in Jamaica’s history: 1933, 1953 (Coronation Tattoo), 1968, and the most recent one was held in 1983, in celebration of the country’s 21st anniversary of Independence.

These were signal events which received national acclaim for their entertainment value, meticulous organisation and professional execution, and had the effect of building the confidence of performers and spectators alike.


By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter

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