By: Marine Seaman Michael E. Turner II
Last week Wednesday, as the country paused for a moment to remember the Marines lost in the Flamingo Incident 37 years ago, the Defence Force capitalized on the opportunity to present its first batch of Identification cards to selected retirees in attendance.
One of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force’s three-tiered missions for the next 5 years is OPERATION TRANSFORMATION, which considers the well being of its Officers and Marines as a high priority. That care continues to spill off to those who have retired honourably this time as the RETIRED VETERAN IDENTIFICATION (RVID) CARD. This is the first time that the Royal Bahamas Defence Force has issued such a tangible measure of its commitment to its veterans. The cards were presented by Commodore Tellis Bethel to the surviving crew members of the HMBS Flamingo as the first recipients. Also receiving their cards were former Commodores Clifford Scavella and Roderick Bowe.
The card not only presumes the role as identification for the Defence Force veterans who have served honourably for 25 years or more and have retired in good standing, but grants their owners access to various valuable benefits. Some of these include access to base facilities, including the commissary, base exchange, base recreational areas and more.
In order for qualifying retired veterans to obtain a Defence Force RVID card, they are required to fill out an application form, which can be downloaded from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force website (http://rbdf.gov.bs/wp- content/uploads/2017/05/RBDF- VETERAN-APPLICATION-FORM- Final-Draft-Autosaved.pdf), Once submitted, the application will be reviewed for necessary approval. This process is intended to be a seamless one and is expected to have a turnaround time of 1 week.
As another benefit, the Defence Force has also recently extended the option of a full military funeral service as well for those who have retired from its ranks and files. In time, additional government benefits may be added to the current list of benefits which is outlined on the application forms.
These are steps in the right direction for the Royal Bahamas Defence Force who actively demonstrates care for those who have retired from years of sacrifice for our country after bravely answering the higher call to service.