Changing of the guard
Wemyss Gorman takes baton from Rocky Meade
It was a historic change of command parade as outgoing Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Lieutenant General Rocky Meade, passed the baton to the first woman CDS, Rear Admiral Antonette Wemyss Gorman yesterday.
The military tradition represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility and ensures that units and their soldiers are never without official leadership.
The parade grounds on the Polo Field at Up Park Camp faced the Jamaica Defence Force’s (JDF) air wing, as Long Mountain provided a picturesque backdrop on a sunny afternoon.
The parade comprised The Jamaica Regiment, the Maritime, Air and Cyber Command, the Support Brigade, the Caribbean Military Academy and the Jamaica National Reserve.
Wemyss Gorman and Meade inspected the parade in an army green Land Rover, labelled 3JDF28, which is in its 60th year of service.
It was taken on JDF’s inventory on February 28, 1962 and was first used on the visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the same year.
The vehicle has been used in every change of command parade that has taken place in the JDF since Independence.
The bands changed tunes as the parade marched with precision in slow and quick time.
The parade gave three cheers and a general salute to the outgoing CDS Lieutenant General Meade before a fly past by a Diamond DA42 fixed wing.
As the command baton was handed over for the 12th time yesterday, Wemyss Gorman said her size seven and a half feet have some very large shoes to fill.
“But I will draw inspiration from the fact that it is at difficult times when you think you’re alone that faith and trust will endure …As I take the baton for my leg of the leadership of this force, I know there is much anticipation, expectation and some amount of curiosity, you can breathe,” said the new CDS.
“I remain committed to our long-term objective to change the culture of violence as articulated in the strategic defence review,” she said in her address.
Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Minister of National Security Horace Chang and other officials attended the ceremony.