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, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force welcomed two of the newest officers after they successfully completed Officers Training at the United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA).
Commodore King officially welcomed Lieutenant Angelo Whitfield and Sub Lieutenant Delron Mitchell, who both recently completed conversion courses for Naval Officers in New London, Connecticut. Lieutenant Whitfield attended the Officer Indoctrination School, and Sub Lieutenant Mitchell attended the Officer Candidate School at the USCGA from July 22nd through November 16th, 2020.
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 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.
Both Officers completed the Nautical Science aspect aboard USCGC BARQUE EAGLE. This included a fourteen day tour of duty 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 disembarked from the New London Port and made patrols in and around the New London and New York sea lanes.
Lieutenant Whitfield took part in a new program known as STRAND. This allowed officer candidates the opportunity to step into the portfolio of an Afloat Officer and experience duties of a new officer onboard a service vessel designated for travel to Coast Guard Sector Boston for hands on training in navigating and piloting.
The Leadership and Management section assesses the officer’s leadership, managerial and conceptual abilities. Evaluations are based on Personal Conduct, Military Aptitude, Situational Awareness and Leadership Positions. Sub Lieutenant Mitchell was tasked with various administrative duties during his tenure at the school and served in numerous roles, including Officer of the Day, Junior Officer of the Day and Academic Section Leader. Moreover, Sub Lieutenant Mitchell made history when he became the first international student to be selected as Platoon Commander for Alfa One Platoon. He was also the Long Cruise Assistant who worked along with the Long Cruise Coordinator aboard the USCGC BARQUE EAGLE.
Commodore King congratulated both Officers for their outstanding achievements abroad, and presented them with certificates at Defence Headquarters, John F. Kennedy Drive. Also, in attendance was Senior Commander Michael Hanna, RBDF Human Resource Officer.
A native of Deep Creek, Eleuthera and a graduate of the University of Kent in the United Kingdom, Lieutenant Whitfield enlisted in the Royal Bahamas Defence Force in July 2000. He attained his LLB with Honors and a post-graduate certificate in Law (Legal Education Certificate) from Eugene Dupuch Law School in New Providence. Whitfield has served in multiple departments within the force including the Prosecution and Legal Affairs section.
Sub Lieutenant Mitchell completed his secondary education at the C. V. Bethel Sr. High School in 2006 prior to enlisting in the Royal Bahamas Defence Force in January 2009. Upon completion of new entry training, he was assigned to the Engineering Department where he worked in the Air Condition Workshop and onboard HMBS Yellow Elder as an HVAC Technician. In 2011, Mitchell attended Air Conditioning and Refrigeration ‘C’ School in Yorktown, Virginia, and then pursued his dream of becoming an Aviator by obtaining his Private Pilot license in 2015. He was subsequently assigned to the Airwing department as an Aircrewman where he obtained his Instrument Airplane rating in Single and Multi-Engine aircraft, and also his Commercial Pilot License with Single and Multi-Engine ratings. Sub Lieutenant Mitchell eventually became the first junior enlisted to assume Pilot in Command of an aircraft (Vulcanair P68). In early 2020, he completed the Cessna Caravan G1000 Initial course at Flight safety International in Wichita, Kansas and obtained command of the Defence Force’s Cessna Caravan.