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The Jamaica Military Aviation School (JMAS) in Kingston today (June 18), graduated its second batch of trainee pilots during a wings presentation ceremony at the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Air Wing, Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA).
The graduates: Lieutenants Craig Lewis-Mayne, Joel Nelson, Jaime Walsh, and Brandon Chambers, were presented with their military wings by the JDF’s Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Stewart Saunders, during the function attended by military officials and family members, among other guests.
The ceremony and presentations marked the culmination of 12 months of training in primary flying training (basic and extended); rotary wing training; and multi-engine training. All four pilots, who joined the JDF between 2003 and 2006, each completed two years of officer training overseas before returning to the island to pursue the JMAS course.
Major General Saunders, in congratulating the graduates, noted that they have been equipped to provide a critical service to the nation.
“This journey has commenced in a time when Jamaica has demonstrated a willingness to tackle organised crime, which sees the JDF fully committed in support of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). We cannot fail in this endeavour, especially when democratic governance is being threatened. Notwithstanding the threat and the fact that we are, in many respects, under-resourced, we must endeavour to carry out our tasks in a fair but firm manner, having regard at all times for the rights of the citizens of Jamaica,” he stated.
Major General Saunders told the graduates that there is much they can achieve in their careers, stressing that “much will be expected of you.” In the same vein, he implored them to maintain the high standards to which they have been exposed and to execute their duties with professional integrity.
The JDF Chief, in the meantime, credited the “positive outputs” of JMAS since its inception in 2006, to the support it continues to receive from the various local and international partners, including the governments of Jamaica and Canada, the Canadian Armed Forces, and Belize Defence Force.
He urged local stakeholders to continue to engage their counterparts in other Caribbean and Central American states, in order to ensure that the facility remains at the centre of military aviation excellence in this region.
“In the same breath, the government and all the national partners should continue to play their part in making JMAS achieve its true potential as a centre of excellence for the training of military pilots,” Major General Saunders stated.
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. He expressed gratitude to the institution’s staff for their invaluable input over the 12 months.
Lt. Chambers 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.