Patrick Robinson, Gleaner Intern
Though they come from contrasting backgrounds, lieutenants Brandon Chambers and Craig Lewis-Mayne are among some of the top achievers of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF). The two were among four army officers who received their wings at the Norman Manley International Airport during a graduation ceremony held at the Jamaica Military Aviation School (JMAS) on Friday.
From the second batch of pilots to graduate since the inception of JMAS in 2006, the four young officers walked away with their wings, making them qualified military pilots.
Chambers, former platoon commander of the First Battalion The Jamaica Regiment, distinguished himself by achieving the Commandant's award, which is handed to the student with the highest overall average in both academics and flying during the JMAS Wing course and has consistently performed above average in the School's Officer Development Programme.
A past student of St George's College, Chambers was born on August 2, 1984. He grew up in Kingston and joined the JDF in April 2006 yielding to his childhood dream of become a pilot in the military. For Chambers, getting the top prize on the course did not come in one shot, he too had his challenges.
"The course was challenging for me. My biggest challenge was the low level navigation," argued Chambers.
He said the course was all about teamwork. In relation to the recent upsurge in violence, the lieutenant had a message for the youth in society.
'Never give up'
"Don't allow where you are from to determine where you go, never give up, most of the successful people in the world were born poor," he said.
Equally impressive was Lewis-Mayne, a young man from Frankfield Clarendon, who came from humble beginnings to join the JDF in October 2003. Born in 1982, he was the eldest participant in the course whose maturity played a pivotal part in the team's success. Lewis-Mayne was inspired to fly by his father, Harold Mayne, a former pilot. He is the second to last of six brothers and sisters. He too had a message for the youth in society.
"Stay on the right path, stay in school," he said.