Tue | Mar 28, 2023
The Classics

PM celebrates with Jamaica's first military pilots

Published:Thursday | January 26, 2023 | 11:40 PM
Lieut V.G.A. Brown (right), one of the two Jamaicans to qualify to fly fixed-wing aircraft in the Jamaica Defence Force, having his wings planed on him by Prime Minister Sir Alexander Bustamante in January 1964.

Sir Alexander and other government leaders were happy to gather and celebrate with members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) on their achievement. He commended them and also asked for their loyalty.

Published Wednesday, January 22, 1964

PM makes presentation   …

First Jamaica trained military pilots get wings

The Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Sir Alexander Bustamante, yesterday presented 'wings' to two Jamaican newly qualified air pilots.  This is the first time any Jamaican has qualified as a military pilot in Jamaica.

In a brief speech, Sir Alexander said he was pleased to congratulate the two lieutenants who had won their 'wings'.  He wished them both “rapid promotion and no accidents” and added that he congratulated the men of the Jamaican Defence Force on their smartness and alertness and said that the Government depended upon them for loyalty.

The two pilots were Lt R .J. Neish, who qualified as a fixed wing, aircraft pilot in the JDF.

Before the presentation, Sir Alexander inspected a guard of honour under the command of Capt K. W. C. D. Taylor.  The introduction was by Brigadier Paul Crook, chief of staff, JDF, who described the occasion as a “significant one in the history of the Defence Force”.

On parade were the guard of honour from the 1st Battalion Jamaica Regiment, the Jamaica Military Band (the Band of Jamaican National Reserve), the Drums of the 1st Battalion Jamaica Regiment, and (for the first time) the regular unit of the Air Wing who are in support of the 1st Battalion for all operations.

The Air Wing, formed last July, consists of the Regular element and the Reserve Air Squadron in the Jamaican National Reserve, made up of volunteer pilots from all over Jamaica, said Brigadier Crook, who paid special tribute to these pilots for their cooperation and help in the formative stage of the Regular Unit which still depends on them for their experience and backing in training and operations.

Brigadier Crook said that the units on parade were symbolic of the unity of the Defence Force ground air and reserve.  The Air Wing had made a significant contribution to the safety and well-being of Jamaica, he added, and cited the relief operation during Hurricane Flora’s rains, search parties for missing vessels, serial reconnaissance works for the Public Works Department, the Forestry Department, the Tourist Board and the Harbours Department, and operations in aid of the Police Forces connected with Nana and the Twilight.

Two particular operations deserving of special mention, Brigadier Crook said, were the flying of a traffic accident casualty from St Ann’s Bay to the University Hospital by helicopter and the Christmas morning mission of carrying blood to Grand Cayman Island.

The object of yesterday’s ceremony, Brigadier Crook said, was to mark the achievement of the Air Wing in completing the training of the two pilots, and to present them with their 'wings', as a token of their qualification.

After a general salute, the guard of honour marched off and there followed a flying display when four Cessnas were flown by Lt Brown, Capt Victor Beek, Capt R. Dixon and Capt Derek Lowe, and the helicopter by Lt Neish, who gave demonstrations of picking up and dropping a load and the picking up and carrying and landing of a human casualty.

The ceremony ended with the taking of the salute at a Fly Past of the Jamaican Defence Force aircraft by the prime minister.

Those attending included the Hon Donald Sangster, deputy prime minister, the Hon Kenneth Jones, minister of communications and works, the Rt Hon Emanuel Shinwell, British MP, Sir Alexander Morley, British high commissioner, James Lloyd, permanent secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, B. Rose of the British High Commission, Lt Col C.G. Carrington, US military attache, Commander C.H. Byrd, US naval attache, E. T. Hanley, director of civil aviation, K. Sanders, deputy director of civil aviation, C. Alexander, manager of Palisadoes Airport and Noel Crosswell, commissioner of police.

Military personnel present included Lt Col D.F. Robinson, Lt Col P.K.N. Mascoll, Lt Col C.A.M. Moody, Lt Col W.R. Goldsworthy, Brigadier J.F. Lindner, Major B. Thornton and Major Nigel Ince and Col O’Connor, Affihale Air Attache US Embassy.



For feedback: contact the Editorial Department at onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com.