Like a compelling scene from a black and white film, that took place in the late 1970s, if you concentrate hard enough you can picture a ten-year old, barefoot Eddie, staring with open-mouthed, wide-eyed admiration watching the officers and marines on shore leave in the Exuma Cays during their patrols.
He credits their crisp white uniform and the attention they commanded while they wore it as a stimulus for his desire to be a Marine. That, his love for the water and the obvious need for a job as a recent graduate from the R. M. Bailey High School (Go Pacers!) were why he joined. Love of country would be why he stayed.
He was a Powerhouse who decided he would not count days, but rather he would make the days count.
He enlisted at 18, as a fresh-faced, hopeful youth in 1985, and became a proud member of Entry 17. He retired at 45, on June 30, 2010, exactly 25 years later, as a hopeful non-youth. Today, just over 10 years later, at 55, he is still full of hope, grateful and has no regrets. What he has is a finely developed set of skills that have helped him to be so many things to so many people in the RBDF over his 25-year tenure.
Military Ball Backdrop Creator. Architectural Designer. Military Rig Designer. Coffin Draper. Water Lover. Peacekeeper. That is a non-exhaustive synopsis of Eddie Martin Bain, Retired Chief Petty Officer. As a man, he is humble and unassuming, as he is kind.
Not many would argue with the assertion that he was integral and that the impact he made was significant to the upward mobility of the Force and the decent reputation it now enjoys. He made his service count.
He was inspired by others like Force Chief Petty Officer Eric Brown and Captain Michael Simmons who made his days as a recruit count, with their effective commands that rang out, and their passion for training. He chuckles when he commented on their styles, “They would break you down to build you up. But they made you feel human and respected you as a man.”
When he successfully passed the grueling recruit training where he was beasted for breakfast and sometimes dinner, he made his marks in four main departments. He initially served in the Military Operations Platoon, as it was called back then for some 8 years. This was by far his favourite section, as he had the opportunity to serve in the UN Peacekeeping Operation in Haiti back in October 1994. He has had a unique opportunity to serve as a member of the Regional Security Systems (RSS) as a trainer. He believed he has graced every major Caribbean nation with his presence on that mobile training team. He formed brotherhoods with men over the years that he considers significant.
He served in New Entry Training for just under 4 years, before he was once again reassigned to what would now be the Commando Squadron Department, and served for an additional 3 years. His next stint would be in Squadron, where he reunited with his love of water. This man with such a sophisticated palate that partakes in seafood dishes at least thrice daily, would serve as bosun and at times, Coxswain mate onboard the Defence Force’s senior vessels, HMBS BAHAMAS and HMBS NASSAU.
During his final years of service, he would blossom in the Headquarters Department, as he was responsible for the Royal Bahamas Defence Force youth feeder program, the RBDF Rangers. In the Rangers, he would make his experiences count by imparting seeds of positivity into those that looked to him for leadership and advice. It is to this section; he felt his worth was most tangible. He saw the changes and realized how powerful influence is. He would also find his unique niche as the man in charge of special projects around the base.
We have said time and again, that Retired Chief Petty Officer Bain made his life’s work count, this time through his contributions. Amongst the most indelible impact of his legacy has been overseeing the redesign and the construction of the Flamingo Memorial Monument and Park, the designing of the Crests that HMBS BAHAMAS and NASSAU proudly wear, the redesign of the Junior Rates and Senior Rates Mess Undress Kit and the design of a large number of the medals we receive today.
Others appreciated his attention to detail as he designed some of the best-looking backdrops for the military balls that were the envy of law enforcement agencies, and the reasons for the oohs and aahs of the ball’s attendees. Eddie Bain, as he was sometimes called in full name form, was an unofficial standing member of the coffin party during funerals. He fondly remembers how proud he felt when he was selected as the RBDF’s representative to drape the coffin of our very first Prime Minister, the late Sir Lynden O. Pindling.
He chokes up and loses his voice for a long minute as he recalls a different coffin he draped. “I still get emotional,” he shares, “when I remember having to drape the coffins of ‘Kite (Leading Seaman Jeffrey Gibson) and Marty (Leading Seaman Matthew) Davis. I cried.”
He names many influences that include former Commodores, current serving members, squadmates and so many more. He is happy to have influenced his son to follow in his footsteps, a journey he was able to witness as his eldest son joined two years before he left. Deangelo Bain continues to serve some 13 years later as a Leading Seaman in the Medical Department. CPO Eddie Bain was the recipient of the Long Service and Good Conduct medals, the Overseas Campaign medal and Commander Defence Force Commendation ribbon before his departure.
A huge part of this Pioneer Series is gleaning advice for current serving Officers and Marines from those who have turned in their military garb and left the candy-cane coloured gates behind. Bain leaves this word of wisdom:
“There is life after service. Plan and prepare yourselves accordingly as it will come. …But, while in service, be the best at what you do. Be loyal to the job. Not to any one person. Be loyal to the entity. Be committed. Be disciplined. Be dedicated. Be determined. Have a high level of integrity. Always do what is right. Be punctual. Be patient and professional. Wear your uniform with dignity and pride. Be focused and walk with purpose with your heads high and shoulders broad. Walk with God. Put Him first in your life and keep Him there. Shun negativity, and seek positive examples.”
It was his final words that resonated with me. He said, “Wear your name tally with pride. That’s all you got. When you lose your name, that’s damage to the family name. So, step out there proud.”
Bain is an excellent example of a life well served. He did it with pride and with flair. And he left in good standing and continues to excel. He says in closing, “The Defence Force has been good to me and has prepared me for the future. I admit that 90% of my preparation has been afforded by the Force and the other 10%, it was up to me and it will be up to you.”
He put in the hard work during his ‘lifetime’ tenure. Now he is making his time with his family count. His family time is his quality time. He enjoys being with his wife of 28 years, Mrs. Dornetta C. Bain, their 4 children and 7 grandchildren. A God-Fearing Man, he is a member of the New Annex Baptist Church and enjoys watching sports, any type will do; fishing and boating.
And in so much as monikers, or nicknames are concerned, his was Tyson. He chose not to tell us why, but I guess if you look closely at any of his photos, you may guess why.
On behalf of a grateful nation, we say thanks Eddie. Thank you for not counting your days, but making your days count.