News and Features


JDF Celebrates Armed Forces Day

Today, the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) invites the entire Jamaica to join in the celebration of Armed Forces Day (31 July 2009), as we honour our servicemen and women who have dedicated their lives to the security of this great nation. Several nations of the world hold an annual Armed Forces Day to recognize, venerate and honour their military forces.

Armed Forces Day in Jamaica is usually embellished with the exhibition of military hardware and a spectacle of military pageantry. But while there is no parade and showcase this year, below is a reflection of Armed Forces Day which will give a vivid picture of what usually takes place at the celebrations:

Reflection by
Warrant Officer Class One (WO1) Donovan Smith

As the sun’s glory radiated on the earth’s surface, we walked the pavilion eagerly awaiting the remarkable presentation of the troops on parade.  The troops began to emerge as their timely movement co-ordinates with the rhythmic beat of the drums. Everyone turned their heads to the left in amazement. The military hardware formed a picturesque backdrop for the parade.

The Parade Commander then brought the troops to a sharp and seamless stop with the military command ‘HALT’. After breathing for a few seconds they were given the “Right Dress” command and with such calm and grace it was over before you could blink the eye.

Another important juncture is the Royal Salute given to the Governor-General which is preceded by a salute to the Prime Minister and the Chief of (Defence) Staff. The Governor-General would then be invited by the Chief of (Defence) Staff to inspect the Parade.

The slow beating of the drums followed by the soft music from the many instruments was so soothing in the sweltering sun that the spectators had wished the inspection was longer so they could have enjoyed more of the music.

After the inspection, there was a spectacle of drill movements which was, for the most part, precise and so warmly received by all.  Throughout the movements there were shouts and praises from the general area of the stands and spectators asking for more and even implying that this was too short for such movements.

The Parade Troops were then given orders to ‘March Past’ in both slow and quick time by the Parade Commander where the swinging of arms and bending of the knees were so spectacular.  They were then advanced in ‘Review Order’ and the Governor-General was given a Royal Salute.

The troops were then marched off the Parade Ground where they received a thunderous applause from the spectators who were saying that they wished this could have happened more frequently. I then departed from the stands feeling very entertained; wishing that I was a part of the troops on parade.

As we celebrate Armed Forces Day, it would be remiss to not mention the birth of the Jamaica Defence Force with the establishment of the First Battalion The Jamaica Regiment on the 31 July 2009. After all, it is because of this conception that we are having an Armed Forces Day celebration.