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Jan 30, 2009

B.D.F. turns 31yrs and holds open day

Story PictureIt was no regular day for the B.D.F., the men entrusted to protect our sovereignty celebrated the thirty-first birthday of the force at their headquarters in Ladyville. The force has grown to over a thousand men strong and over the years its role has evolved to meet other challenges. Duane Moody reports.

Duane Moody, Reporting
The official ceremonies of the B.D.F. anniversary and a passing out parade to mark this milestone were quiet a feat today. A heat wave did not affect platoon and recruit intake number fifty-one of the Belize Defence Force, except for one soldier, as the new soldiers were formally inducted. The B.D.F. teaches its soldiers discipline, endurance and as its motto says to stand “shoulder to shoulder”. Brigadier General Tapia explains.

Brigadier General Dario Tapia, Commandant, B.D.F.
“This morning we had the parade commemorating our thirty-first anniversary and also the passing out of recruit intake number fifty-one. Recruit intake number fifty-one is comprised of fifty-four males and four females and now they are fully trained recruits and they are official members of the Belize Defence Force and trained soldiers and now they are expected to join their comrades. There’s different units from inventory, engineering, air, maritime components to it. So it’s a variety of troops but we are configured in the form of a light infantry brigade.”

Certificates were distributed to five outstanding recruits while others received medals of honour for long service and good conduct. Tapia says that to be accepted into the force, recruits must complete a rigorous sixteen week training course.

Brigadier General Dario Tapia
“The training entails foot drill, field craft, platoon tactics. It included map reading, human rights and those subjects that are military related. They also did some field visits to also equip themselves with some of the local industries that we do have here in the nation.”

Duane Moody
“So they’re fully equipped to defend the nation should in case an attack or anything.”

Brigadier Dario Tapia
“I would say yes because I have done the training myself and I’m sure that these recruits have gotten everything that they need to become fully trained soldiers.”

Apart from showcasing their many talents, the recruits of intake number fifty-one gave a combative demonstration of some military action in the field.

Carlos Perdomo, Minister of National Security
“Since its inception, the Belize Defence Force, as an organization, has provided much service to the nation and people of Belize. The scale and variety of the challenges are ever evolving. As a result, the B.D.F. has developed the admirable flexibility of being multi-tasking; bordering and interior patrols and operations continue twenty-four-seven as well as support to the police department in Belize City and San Pedro Town.”

According to Minister of National Security, Carlos Perdomo, there is much more in store for the B.D.F.

Carlos Perdomo
“Increase vigilance will occur along our western border with the manning of two addition border observation posts and two more to be planned for the near future and yet another at the mouth of the Starstoon River. In an effort to protect tourism industry, continues vehicle patrols and escorts are conducted in the Cayo district. As well, the B.D.F. supports the ongoing effort to combat fire arm trafficking. Be vigilant of your reputation for strong discipline, competent supervision, and excellence in service. These must always remain sacred to the B.D.F.”

Duane Moody, reporting for News Five.

This Saturday, the B.D.F will be hosting an open house and the public is invited. There will be military displays and a special feature will be a performance of the deer dance by the Shotokan Karate Community in Toledo.

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