The Royal Bahamas Defence Force Reserve was established to augment the Regular Force. This group of elite men and women have played an integral and crucial role in the organization’s pursuit of excellence in carrying out its mandate. The added manpower and specialized skills have brought the organization to the forefront as each reservist unselfishly lends their expertise to the advancement of the organization.
At times when the Force is stretched due to operational duties, such as post Dorian Hurricane efforts in Abaco and Grand Bahama, and the current COVID-19 taskings, the reservist unit fulfills their roles by supplementing the Regular Force. It is at such periods that a “Call-Out” Reserve, an individual who is assigned based on department availability, can work additional days. The role of reservists is to continue to evolve, as they lend their specialized skills learned on their civilian job to provide insight and direction to their unit.
In addition, the reserve acts as a public relations representative advocating on behalf of the organization in sharing their experience and understanding of the Force with others. Another role the reservist facilitates is intelligence, as they can be the eyes and ears of the Force which can be useful throughout the archipelagic islands. A reservist’s reach within a community can be even greater than those of the regular force who are tasked with other duties that take them away from their communities. Lastly, the reserve has enabled the organization to retain the skills and knowledge of former employees, who have retired or have been honorably discharged from the Regular Force, and have opted to serve in the reserve.
The first group of RBDF reservists completed new entry training on May 26, 2012, with a total of twenty-one (21) individuals. Included in that number were eight (8) retired members of the regular force. The implementation of the reserve section of the Defence Force has afforded working professionals to contribute to the growth and development of the organization by lending their skills and experience to the advancing force. The organization is continuing to seek professionals and persons with specialized skills to supplement the organization’s skills bank.
Over the past nine (9) years, the reservists have had three (3) Commissioned Officers who were responsible for this unit respectively: Commander Christopher Plakaris, Lieutenant Commander Andrew Farrington, and Senior Lieutenant Elvis Bullard, who currently heads this section.
As the force celebrates the ninth anniversary of the RBDF Reserves, the organization would like to thank the men and women who made their contributions to service and country and have since moved on from the Reserves. Bravo Zulu to the following: Lieutenant Marsha Chriswell, Chief Petty Officer Kendall Storr, Petty Officer Marv Johnson, Leading Seaman Bradley Lundy, Woman Marine Adina Munroe–Charlow, and Woman Marine Shantell Neely. Also, fallen from the ranks was Petty Officer Reserve Trevor Sherman.
The expansion of the Reserves Unit is part of Commander Defence Force’s organizational sustainment campaign, the organization is seeking applicants for reservists from a wide spectrum of society, individuals who are willing to lend their professional skills and experience to the building of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force.