Friday 17 March, 2017… Four (4) members of the press recently underwent a compact embed campaign with the Royal Bahamas Defence Force that shocked their systems–quite like the sensations of an unexpected ice water bath this weekend. There was much to adjust to as the news reporters struggled to adapt to the verbal jabs and physical punishment they experienced at the outset in a scene set to imitate the experiences of Defence Force recruits on their first day of enlistment. It was an activity, ideally simulated to highlight the stark contrast between civilian and military life and enhance media appreciation for diverse tasks and activities undertaken by the men and women of the Force. A ‘this is real’ mindset took over quite quickly as unbending members of the RBDF Training Department skillfully hammered away at the civilian mindset of our guests.
These four bravehearts were Ms. Jimineta Swain and Mr. Anton Brennen, representing The Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas; and Ms. Ava Turnquest and Mr. Rashad Rolle from The Tribune, who volunteered to begin their media embedment evolution at the Defence Force’s Coral Harbour Base. This exercise was a Public Relations initiative, facilitated by the Public Relations Officer Sub Lieutenant Desiree Corneille and her team.
It was ultimately approved by Commander Defence Force (Acting) Captain Tellis A. Bethel and facilitated by Captain Clyde Sawyer, Captain Coral Harbour, the Operations and Administration Branches, and Heads of Departments of the RBDF. It was a stellar example of how the various branches and their departments work in synergy to continue guarding the heritage of the Bahamas. Each department helped to assimilate the media into their sections, helping them understand their duties with practical taskings and duties.
Commander Defence Force (Acting) was pleased with the media participation in the initiative and was on hand to witness several of the evolutions, putting the media at ease with his supportive comments and personable engagements. He also commended the initiative of the RBDF PR Officer, Sub Lieutenant Corneille, and her hard working staff for organizing and coordinating the program.
The aim of the embedment was for media partners to garner an experience that would stay with them, as well as to enhance their storytelling relating to the Defence Force. Additionally, the experience will stimulate the production of articles and TV programs to be released around the Force’s 37th Anniversary on March 31st.
The indoctrination period included a first day experience as a recruit in the training department assisted by the Defence Force Rangers and PR Staff members; familiarization with members of the Commando Squadron Department where they competed in an obstacle course, learnt about cay searches and eating MREs (Meals ready to Eat); they sailed with HMBS ARTHUR DION HANNA where they integrated with the crew under the command of Acting Lieutenant Commander Berne Wright, experiencing among other things opportunities to steer the vessel, and partake in operational and safety drills. The last part of the evolution was a flight onboard the RBDF surveillance airplane, as the flight, commanded by Lieutenant Marcellinus Rolle, patrolled key areas of our territorial waters.
The entire embed lasted just over 24 hours, giving our honourary Marines an experience many will covet as they can boast about being able to survive a Day in our world.