For 44 years, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force has embodied the spirit of Bahamian excellence, serving as a constant guardian of our heritage. Prime Minister Lynden Pindling recognized this dedication in 1990, calling the RBDF a “model of what Bahamians are capable of doing with their creative talents, given the chance provided by the achievement of Independence.

Today, let us take a moment to honor this legacy and celebrate the incredible journey that brought us here.

Our story begins before 1973, when the Bahamas relied solely on the Royal Bahamas Police Force. The rise of drug trafficking and illegal immigration in the 1960s, exposed the vulnerability of our vast archipelago. Thus, the Police Marine Division was born, the first step in securing our heritage. While the PMD achieved success, it became clear that a more robust guardian was needed.

Prime Minister Lynden O. Pindling, a visionary leader who saw beyond a simple Coast Guard, envisioned a “people’s Defence Force,” one not just to safeguard our sovereignty, but to serve the very heart of our nation. He saw a force that would rescue lives at sea, deter poachers and smugglers, and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Bahamians in times of crisis – a force dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in guarding all that we hold dear.

This vision materialized in 1979 when Princess Anne on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II bestowed the title “Royal” upon the Bahamas Defence Force. The Defence Act, passed on Monday March 31st, 1980, and solidified the RBDF as an official entity. From that day forward, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force has been the indefatigable guardian of our Bahamian heritage.

Fast forward 44 years, the landscape has changed. Our 700 islands present unique challenges – porous borders, a strategic location on drug trafficking routes, and vulnerability to natural disasters. The RBDF has risen to meet these challenges head-on, continuously striving for excellence.

We stand as guardians of our heritage, resolute in our dedication to nation-building and community leadership. The Government of The Bahamas is steadfast in its commitment, ensuring that our organization is adequately manned, equipped, and professionally trained to fulfill our mandate and associated missions.


We are committed to this pursuit of excellence through several key principles:

  • Professionalism:We cultivate a highly-trained, disciplined, and ethical force.
  • Performance Excellence:The full participation of our members and the designation of the right people with the right skills doing the right jobs.
  • Agility:We adapt swiftly and decisively to evolving threats.
  • Innovation:We embrace new technologies and strategies to enhance our capabilities.
  • Results-based Focus:We prioritize measurable outcomes to maximize the impact of our operations.

The men and women of the RBDF embody these principles every single day. They patrol our waters, interdict illegal activities, provide humanitarian assistance, and stand ready to respond to any crisis. They are the living embodiment of Sir Lynden Pindling’s vision – a force not just for defense, but for the betterment of our entire Bahamian heritage.

As we celebrate this anniversary, let us honour the legacy of those who came before us and recommit ourselves to the ideals that define the RBDF. May we continue to serve with pride, safeguarding the Bahamas and its people for generations to come.

On behalf of the entire Royal Bahamas Defence Force – our Executive Command Team, Officers, Marines, Veterans, and Rangers – I offer a heartfelt “Happy Anniversary!” Your commitment to excellence in guarding our heritage is a source of immense pride for our nation. Thank you for your service.

Commander Defence Force,
Commodore Dr. Raymond E. King CD., EdD

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