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Jan 27, 2017

72 New Recruits for B.D.F.

Approximately five hundred applications were submitted to the B.D.F. for Intake number sixty-two but only around one hundred and fifty of those were invited to train. But after the first few weeks about half of them gave up due to the intense nature of the military training. Those who remained in the recruit program and completed all stages were recognized today as they transitioned from civilians to soldiers. Today’s passing out ceremony is the second of two intakes in 2016. Andrea Polanco visited the B.D.F.’s Price Barracks today for the passing out ceremony:

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

With its customary pomp and circumstance, the B.D.F. opened the celebration of its thirty-ninth anniversary with the passing out ceremony for recruit intake number sixty-two. The seventy-four soldiers were a part of about a hundred and fifty civilians who started training in September 2016. After about seventeen weeks of intense physical training, weapon handling, coupled with academic skills these seventy-four are now ready to serve Belize.

 

David Jones

Brig Gen. David Jones, Commander, B.D.F.

“During their training, the field craft is important; physical fitness is a big thing for us. We do medical training. We do on arm combat. They also get training in law of arm conflict, first aid, general military tactics be it offensive – defensive, counter terrorism operations.  So, they learn all the different phases of war during the training and it culminates at the end after seventeen weeks with a passing out parade.”

 

The B.D.F. recognized the top recruits who excelled in the different areas of training.  Brigadier General David Jones says that the training we see today is at the highest it’s ever been. Since its formation in 1978, the B.D.F. has grown significantly in human and capital resources. General Jones says that we can expect to see the work of the B.D.F. expand in different areas.

 

Brig Gen. David Jones

“We have had major achievements. One of the major one is the acquisition of the helicopters that we have the two UH1H and also the Balfour helicopters and also the progression of our jungle warfare instructor course, it is going into the premiere institution that we want it to be. Our pilots for the helicopters are in training. They will conclude their training this June and after June they will be fully operational with regards to supporting the infantry units out on the ground, to insert our patrols, extract them and to also aid them in extraction and insertion operations along the border.  So quick reaction when we have incidences along the border or casualty evacuation, it will make it much easier and better operational effectiveness for our troops. Coming this year, when it comes to helicopter support, we know we have that acquired. Training will continue. It has reached much higher than it ever has in the history of the B.D.F.  We have the British Army doing training for us more regular than they have done here in Belize. We have the Canadian Armed Forces who have taken over our Special Forces unit and they have been providing training for them over the past three years and we expect that to continue. We also have the Germans who have partnered with us and they are getting jungle training here in Belize. We also have the US Marines who have been doing training with us for over three years now. We’ve got a five year plan with them to continue training members of the B.D.F. and that culmination of training should last for at least the next year, year and half, where intense intelligence driven operations will be done and we have more decisive operations. So, we have been going through an intensive period of training for the last three years and it will culminate this year where B.D.F. will be more involved in decisive operations in regards to drug trafficking, human trafficking, smuggling of illegal or illicit activities along our borders.”

 

The new recruits demonstrated the skills they learnt over the last couple months with a full on display for the friends, family, and dignitaries in attendance. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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