NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A total of 42 Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) marines were recognized by their various departments and received awards for their outstanding and dedicated services throughout the year during a recent ceremony at HMBS Coral Harbour.
Leading Seaman Melvin Smith was awarded the Leon L. Smith Award as the Royal Bahamas Defence Force’s overall Marine of the Year for 2020.
A training instructor, Smith was presented with the award at the force’s Annual Christmas Carol and Awards Ceremony. The 16-year veteran received the award in honor of the first Bahamian commodore who headed the RBDF from 1983 to 1997.
Leading Woman Marine Edna Hart from the Airwing Department, Able Woman Marine Jamie Cleare from the Training Department, and Woman Marine Brittany Darville, attached to the RBDF Exchange section of the Supply Department, received top honors for their respective rates.
In attendance were RBDF Commodore Dr Raymond King; his wife, retired Force Chief Petty Officer Fredricka King; The Bahamas’ Ambassador to the Republic of Haiti Captain Whitfield Neely; retired Commodore Leon Livingston Smith and his wife, Helen Smith; and the RBDF’s executive command team.
In bringing remarks, King thanked the officers and marines for their invaluable contributions throughout the year.
“I am forever grateful for the dedication of you, the hardworking men and women of this great organization, who continue to support and represent the force in a professional manner,” King said.
“You continue to support the National COVID Taskings that include curfew enforcement, security operations and maritime law enforcement missions. Whether you are a member of the administration, logistics or operations section, your contributions to this entire operation are grateful.
“My executive command team stands with me as I say ‘thank you’ for your services.”
In the spirit of the season, gifts were provided for the children of the serving members of the force who were brought to attend the ceremony and also the children of RBDF veterans during the ceremony.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the staff, faculty, parents and students from the Gambier and Adelaide Primary Schools were not present at the ceremony as is normally the tradition. However, gifts were distributed to the schools on Friday, December 18, 2020, led by King, Commander Floyd Moxey and the members of the 2020 Carol Service and Marine of the Year committee.
The annual service, which is also a time of reflection and thanksgiving, brings together personnel from all sectors of the force.