Defence Headquarters, 19 DEC. ‘23 (RBDF): In an endeavor to acknowledge and commemorate the exceptional contributions of select marines, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force recognized its standout marines during its Annual Carol Service at the Coral Harbour Base on December 19, 2023.
Claiming the highest honor was Leading Woman Marine Jamie Cleare, who earned the distinction of Marine of the Year for 2023 and received the prestigious Leon Livingston Smith Award. This accolade is reserved for individuals exemplifying exemplary duty, selfless commitment to nation-building, and an unwavering dedication to the defense of our nation.
The ceremony served as a focal point for highlighting the outstanding achievements of marines across the organization, featuring fifty-six (56) nominees from twenty-three (23) departments. Notable figures included Leading Woman Marine Aniska Bonaby, Able Woman Marine Melvina Brown, and Marine Seaman Jason Bellozier, each recognized for their commendable performance and contributions.
These accomplished individuals were duly honored with certificates, awards, and generous gifts courtesy of esteemed sponsors such as Auto H&L, Flameless Electrical, and title sponsor Oaktree Medical, extending their appreciation for the marines’ outstanding efforts throughout the year.
Commander Defence Force, Commodore Raymond King, conveyed heartfelt congratulations on behalf of the Minister of National Security, the Honorable Wayne Munroe Q.C. He encouraged all the award recipients and underscored the significance of acknowledging the marines during the festive season, emphasizing their unwavering dedication and sacrifices.
Distinguished attendees included Commodore King’s wife, Retired Force Chief Petty Officer Fredricka King, Senator Darren Henfield, the RBDF Executive Command Team, Former Commanders Defence Force, Dr. Don Deveaux, and representatives from Oaktree Medical Centre, as well as delegates from the RBDF Veteran’s Association.
The proceedings concluded with the 3rd Annual ‘Captain’s Rush’ display, which is an internal Junkanoo competition, providing a festive conclusion to the event and showcasing cultural unity among military members. The Showtime group walked away with first place, with The Beagles following in second and Heavy D & The Boys coming in third place.
As the Royal Bahamas Defence Force continues its mission to safeguard our heritage, this annual celebration serves as a poignant reminder of the dedication and pride exhibited by the marines. Heartfelt congratulations to all the deserving awardees, with the hope that their success serves as inspiration for others to aspire to greatness in service to our nation.