If you were asked to list your absolute favorite heroes of all-time, where would the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Marine fall? Would he even make your list?
When we think of a hero, we often think of someone who in an act of courage steps up to the plate and saves the day when an unexpected situation of emergency or peril arises. However, the harsh truth is, the average person hesitates, and stands around hoping that assistance will come. For the RBDF Marine, this is never the case.
Recently, Hurricane Joaquin passed through the Bahamas and though the capital was spared, numerous outer islands were not as fortunate and were left devastated. Many Bahamians felt the impact of this and while others stood by anticipating what was going to happen in aid of these islands, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force was already engaged in deploying teams for damage assessment, minor repairs and the delivery and security of relief supplies.
Able Seaman Emerson Moss is a member of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and as a part of the RBDF mandate and his sworn duty, Moss was called upon to assist in providing relief assistance during this time of disaster to one of the islands adversely affected, namely Crooked Island.
Under the direction of Petty Officer Phillip Daxon, Able Seaman Moss, along with other Marines were a part of Impact Team 3. Upon arriving the team connected with the island’s Chief Councilor Timothy Thompson who informed them of a resident on the island who was unaccounted for.
Upon receiving this information, Petty Officer Daxon and Able Seaman Moss immediately acquired a truck from a local resident, started on their journey from the capital, Colonel Hill and proceeded to Bullet Hill to rescue the resident.
While journeying, they were faced with many obstacles. Roads were completely washed away, bridges had collapsed, debris was scattered and massive flooding restricted vehicle passage. Because of this, they were forced to abandon their vehicle and complete their journey walking on foot and swimming through flooded areas in waters reaching up to chest level. In total, they covered a distance of over 26 miles in just over 3 and a half hours.
When the team arrived to Bullet Hill Settlement, it was quite evident that Hurricane Joaquin had its way with the property; windows were broken, the roof was damaged and the home was completely flooded. The team knocked on the door as they called out for the resident. However, there was no reply. They then advanced to a backroom in the house, where they discovered him where he was forced to stack two sofas on top of each other just to stay above the water level.
However, just as the team and Able Seaman Moss had hoped, the resident – though slightly weak – was in good health and even better spirits. The team trekked back some 13+ miles to the vehicle with the gentleman. On the way back, they found a bicycle lying next to a house which assisted them in bringing the Crooked Island resident back to safety. After arriving back to their vehicle, they transported him to the air strip where he was carried to Nassau for medical review.
This story is quintessential proof that the RBDF is engaged in the ongoing service of our country and each individual citizen of The Bahamas. During Hurricane Joaquin relief efforts, RBDF Marines have willingly moved to the outer islands where in many cases there is no running water, electricity, telephone signal or any means of communication. They are true heroes performing courageously for those in need, recognizing and accepting the risks, costs and sacrifices involved.
What’s unique about this particular story is that Able Seaman Emmerson Moss became a hero to a man who at one time was his hero, Ernest Moss, his very own father.
It is sometimes said that a true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him – his/her family, friends, freedom and home. The mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, daughters, sons and loved ones that RBDF Marines must leave behind to perform their duties are the very ones they are fighting to protect. They have volunteered their lives to the protection of our country’s integrity and are committed to helping the organization successfully carry out its mandate – to Guard Our Heritage.
Story by Marine Seaman Michael Turner
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