Defence Headquarters, 11 October. ‘23 (RBDF): The Royal Bahamas Defence Force takes great pride in celebrating the exceptional courage and dedication of its outstanding service members who were recognized at this year’s National Honours Ceremony, which transpired on October 9th and 10th at Government House, Among the distinguished recipients, Commander Defence Force, Commodore Raymond King, was bestowed with the prestigious Order of Distinction, exemplifying his remarkable leadership and contributions to our nation’s security.
Notably, our former Commanders of the Defence Force, including Commodores Tellis A. Bethel, Roderick Bowe, and Clifford Scavella, were also honored with the Order of Distinction, recognizing their invaluable service in upholding the principles of honor and integrity within our organization.
Furthermore, we extend our heartfelt appreciation to retirees and veterans who were recognized for their Acts of Bravery. Petty Officer Lorenzo Carey, Force Chief Petty Officer Shawn Rolle, Petty Officer Anthony Archer, and Able Mechanic Sullivan McKenzie were commended for their commitment to duty. In a moment that captured the nation’s collective memory, these courageous individuals were at the forefront of diplomatic negotiations in 1994. They played a pivotal role in the apprehension of two Honduran fishing vessels engaged in illegal activities near Cay Sal Banks. When those vessels mysteriously vanished, the Defence Force sprang into action, embarking on a daring search and rescue mission to ensure the safety of the four Defence Force Marines stationed aboard. After a tense and trying 12-day period, the vessels resurfaced in Honduras, accompanied by our kidnapped Bahamian marines. Diplomatic negotiations, skillfully conducted by these remarkable heroes, resulted in their safe repatriation to the Bahamas, leaving us with a profound sense of relief and gratitude that all involved parties emerged unharmed.
The spirit of heroism resonated even more deeply as two Defence Force Marines were posthumously awarded the Medal for Acts of Bravery during the ceremonies. Able Seaman Patrick Johnson, who, in 1996, succumbed to fatigue and drowned after bravely rescuing two distressed comrades during a fitness routine, displayed selflessness and commitment to his comrades. Leading Seaman Jeffery Gibson’s legacy, one of fighting tirelessly for the safety of our Bahamian waters, will forever be etched in our hearts as a testament to his dedication to our beloved Bahamas.
The Royal Bahamas Defence Force is profoundly grateful for the remarkable service and indomitable spirit of these exceptional service members. Their bravery, valor, and selfless sacrifice embody the very essence of our mission to protect and secure our nation’s borders and maritime interests. As an organization, we remain resolute in our commitment to upholding the highest standards of service and honor, and proudly celebrate those who gone above and beyond the call of duty.