RBDF Photo shows the new officers after meeting with Commander Defence Force, Commodore Raymond King on Thursday May 28, 2020 at HMBS Coral Harbour.
From Left: Lieutenant Commander Michael Hanna, Human Resource Officer; Sub Lieutenants Renaldo Wilkinson and Natasha Major; Commodore Raymond King; Sub Lieutenant Lashonna Williams and Captain Shonedel Pinder, Deputy Commander Defence Force.
(Photo by Marine Seaman Frederick Russell)

Sub Lieutenants Natasha Major, Lashonna Williams and Renaldo Wilkinson are the newest addition to the Officer’s Corps of The Royal Bahamas Defence Force after successfully completing conversion courses for Naval Officers in New London, Connecticut.

Both Sub Lieutenants Williams and Wilkinson attended the Officer Candidate School at the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Academy from 5th January through 13th April, 2020, while Sub Lieutenant Natasha Major attended the Officer Indoctrination School from 6th January through March 23rd, 2020, also at the USCG Academy.

The courses, which were sponsored by the International Military Education Training Program (IMET), are designed to educate and train officer candidates to ensure that they possess the moral, intellectual and physical qualities, and the leadership potential to serve effectively as Commissioned Officers. The curriculum included academics, leadership and management, nautical science, health and physical readiness, customs and courtesies, military traditions, and Coast Guard history.

The Academic aspect of the course gives the officer an overall view of the Coast Guard. It also exposes them to Maritime Law Enforcement, Military Etiquette, Unified Code of Military Justice, Effective Writing, Communication Skills and First Aid.

The Leadership and Management section assesses the officer’s Leadership Abilities, Managerial and Conceptual abilities. Evaluations are based on Personal Conduct, Military Aptitude, Situational Awareness and Leadership Positions.

Sub Lieutenants Williams and Wilkinson were responsible for various administrative duties, including Officer of the Day, Junior Officer of the Day, Academic section leader and squad leader. Additionally, Sub Lieutenant Williams served as Property Assistant Officer, Alpha Leader in charge of Common Spaces, and designated leader in charge of showing the platoon how to prepare their rooms for inspection to drastically help reduce the demerit count for the overall Alpha Company.

The Nautical Science aspect included a 10-days tour of duty aboard the US Coast Guard Cutter EAGLE, where the officers were required to apply the knowledge of Piloting, Maneuvering Boards, Rules of the Road, Ship Handling, Celestial Navigation, Shipboard Communication, Tides and Currents, Nautical Nomenclature and The Compass System. The craft made patrols from New London, Connecticut to Charleston, South Carolina, and conducted several exercise drills. The Officers also attended a two-day training session in Fire Fighting and Damage Control in Newport, Rhode Island.

Sub Lieutenant Major is a 1999 graduate of the Government High School, having joined the Defence Force in January 2004. She served in both the Supply and the Squadron Departments, and has earned organizational awards including Marine of the year for both departments, Commander Defence Force Award of Excellence, the Commander Defence Force Commendation Award, and the Leon Smith overall Marine of the Year in 2018. A licensed Customs broker, she is currently pursuing her BBA degree in Accounting at the University of the Bahamas. She is married to Marcus Major, and the couple has 2 children, Ashanta and Marcus, Jr.

A 1999 graduate of the Government High School, Sub Lieutenant Williams also enlisted in the Defence Force in January 2004. She received the Commander Defence Force Award of Excellence, the Commander Defence Force Commendation Award, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture National Youth Leader Certification and the completed the Community Emergency Responder course. She has served in numerous departments, including the RBDF Band, Northern Command, Prosecutions, Administration, Military Aid to Civil Authority (MACA), Urban Renewal, Rangers, office of the Base Executive Officer and the Training Department. She obtained an Associate Degree in Law and Criminal Justice from the University of The Bahamas in 2017 and is the mother of 1 daughter, Jashonna Brown.

Sub Lieutenant Renaldo Wilkinson is a 2003 graduate of St. Johns College, and joined Defence Force in August 2004. He has served in the Mechanical section of the Engineering Department, and has completed various US Military funded courses in York Town, Virginia, including the Mechanical Engineering “A” level Course and the Hydraulics and Components “C” level courses in 2012. He has also served in the Accounts and Training Department prior to attending the Officers Course.

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