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Aug 8, 2014

B.D.F. Graduates Seventy-Six New Officers

Today, seventy-two proud recruits of intake number fifty-eight passed out at Price Barracks, ready to stand as soldiers in the Belize Defence Force. The graduation is the culmination of weeks of intense physical and mental training, with only the best of the recruits still standing to take their place in the ranks of the force today. It is traditionally a day celebrated with much pomp and ceremony, in the company of family, friends, fellow soldiers and the top brass of Belize’s military and law enforcement arms. So we knew what to expect today, and we weren’t disappointed. Mike Rudon was at Price Barracks and has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

The best and brightest of recruit intake number fifty-eight marched proudly onto the parade grounds of Price Barracks. These seventy-two men and women from across the country made it through weeks of intense physical training designed to mould them into soldiers, protectors of the nation’s sovereignty and citizen security whenever and wherever they are called.

 

Brig. Gen. David Jones, Commander, Belize Defence Force

David Jones

“We do a countrywide test and exam for them to come and join us at the Belize Defence Force. There are almost six hundred that sit the entrance exam. Usually about two months after, they come here and they assemble. The first three weeks is what we refer to as the stress time. They endure all sorts of stress in the first week, where they have to be up at four in the morning, then they have to be up doing their chores by five…they go on physical training, they do runs, they do tasks. In that first week, we usually have about twenty to thirty guys that drop out, so within the first three weeks that’s when you’d have fifty, or even sixty of them drop out of the training. When training continues now they learn field-craft…they do tactics…how to fight in a battle during war time, and how to operate in the garrison during peace time. They also learn first aid so if people get injured either in the garrison or on the battlefield they are able to repair or even help their fallen comrades with first aid.”

 

The focus is on physical training…fitness and endurance, but it is also about much more than that. Changing dynamics in border relations have forced a modification in and enhancement of training priorities.

 

Brig. Gen. David Jones

“What we’ve noticed recently is that for some reason soldiers are weaker than before. We try to ensure that they get the proper rest, the proper diet, so that they can adapt to the challenges of the force. But what we’ve added to training most recently is in regards to human rights training, and more training in regards to law of armed conflict because we’ve had a number of incidents along the border where our soldiers have been in shooting incidents with Guatemalan peasants and the Guatemalans have always claimed that we are not abiding by human rights law, so we’ve incorporated that a lot more in training…we’ve added an entire week so that when the soldiers are operating along the border, they know how to treat prisoners and they know how to treat people that they have captured so as to treat them humanely and get them out of the jungle back to the civilian world so that the Police and prosecution can take their role.”

 

Four new soldiers were recognized and honoured today for exceptional performance during recruit training. For champion field-craft the force honoured recruit Daniel Pou. For exceptional performance in physical training, recruit Marvin Ical received the award. The best marksman in the field, champion shot of the recruits, was Benito Itch. And the man honoured as the Champion Recruit, an exemplary leader, outstanding in every field, was recruit Angelo Wright.

 

Angelo Wright, Recruit

Angelo Wright

“As a young boy I’ve seen parades and it motivated me very much. Now that I am twenty-two years old I had the change to go take the test, achieved a pass and was accepted, and now I’m right here. It’s hard work, a lot of stress, but like we say, you’ve got to be strong not only physically but mentally.”

 

Brig. Gen. David Jones

“These new soldiers will now be deployed countrywide. We’ve got locations here at Price Barracks, but for the most part they will be in Punta Gorda and the Cayo District…so some will go to Cayo, some will go to Punta Gorda and some will go to the Orange Walk District. So they will immediately be prepared to go on operational duties along the border and do patrols for us.”

 

The new soldiers will get a week off, after which they will be assimilated into the force. For today, these young recruits are proud, and deservedly so, of how far they have come and what they have achieved.

 

Angelo Wright

“I would like to give thanks first of all to all the NCOs, instructors who worked very hard to teach us all we know. They are the ones that made us work hard, but at the same time motivated us so we gotta work hard to achieve everything good in life.”

 

Reporter

“And your family has been supporting you?”

 

Angelo Wright

“All the way they have supported me and they’re very proud of me.”

 

Mike Rudon for News Five.

 

The ceremony was followed by a mock battle carried out by soldiers of the B.D.F., complete with explosions, gunfire and even one mock casualty.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “B.D.F. Graduates Seventy-Six New Officers”

  1. H@tari says:

    Congratulations, troops! When I see this group of proper looking soldiers, I see hope. Now if we could only get the police department to step in line, take some pride, and do your jobs . . . just might be able to get a grip on our crime problems.

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