In keeping with the Commander Defence Force, Commodore Raymond King’s strategic intent of developing a professional and high-performance workforce focused on excellence and succession planning, Leading Seaman Melvin Smith was awarded the Leon L. Smith Award as the Royal Bahamas Defence Force’s overall Marine of the Year for 2020.
A training instructor, Leading Seaman Smith was presented with the award at the force’s Annual Christmas Carol and Awards Ceremony on Monday, December 21, 2020, at HMBS Coral Harbour. The sixteen-year-veteran received the coveted award in honor of the first Bahamian Commodore who headed the Defence Force from 1983 – 1997.
Leading Woman Marine Edna Hart from the Airwing Department, Able Woman Marine Jamie Cleare from the Training Department, and Woman Marine Brittany Darville, attached to the RBDF Exchange section of the Supply Department received top honors for their respective rates. A total of forty-two marines were recognized by their various departments and received awards for their outstanding and dedicated services throughout the year.
In attendance were Commodore Raymond King, Commander Defence Force, and his wife Retired Force Chief Petty Officer Fredricka King, His Excellency Captain Whitfield Neely, The Bahamas’ Ambassador to the Republic of Haiti, Retired Commodore Leon Livingston Smith and his wife Mrs. Helen Smith, and the RBDF’s Executive Command Team. In bringing his remarks, Commodore King thanked the Officers and Marines for their invaluable contributions throughout the year.
“I am forever grateful for the dedication of you, the hard-working men and women of this great organization, who continue to support and represent the force in a professional manner”, said Commodore King. “You continue to support the National COVID Taskings that include Curfew Enforcement, Security Operations, and Maritime Law Enforcement Missions. Whether you are a member of the Administration, Logistics, or Operations section, your contributions to this entire operation are grateful. My Executive Command team stands with me as I say ‘Thank you’ for your services”.
In the spirit of the season, gifts were provided for the children of the serving members of the Force who were brought to attend the ceremony and also the children of RBDF veterans during the ceremony. Due to the current pandemic, the staff, faculty, parents, and students from the Gambier and Adelaide Primary Schools were not present at the ceremony. However, gifts were distributed to the schools on Friday, December 18, 2020, led by Commodore King and Commander Floyd Moxey and the members of the 2020 Carol Service and Marine of the Year committee.
The annual service, which is also a time of reflection and thanksgiving, brings together personnel from all sectors of the force. RBDF Chaplain, Reverend Prince Bodie, who brought the Christmas message encouraged those in attendance to always thank the Lord for where he brought them. As he also reflected on his personal journey into the organization during his service as the force’s chaplain, he reminded everyone that as they prepare for the festive season, to remember God’s son who came into the world.
Photo shows: The Commander Defence Force, Commodore Raymond King and Mrs. Fredricka King presenting Able Woman Marine Jamie Cleare for the RBDF Marine Rate Award at the force’s Annual Christmas Carol and Awards Ceremony on Monday, December 21, 2020. Also shown are: Deputy Commander Defence Force, Captain Shonedel Pinder; Captain Glenn McPhee, Acting Captain Coral; and Lieutenant Commander Origin Deleveaux, Training Officer. (RBDF Photo by Chief Petty Officer Mark Armbrister)