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Mar 6, 2020

Major Radford Baizar is Laid to Rest

Radford Baizar

The last Belize Defense Force soldier who died in the helicopter crash was buried today. Major Radford Baizar, a highly trained and accomplished pilot and instructor of the B.D.F. Air Wing received a funeral service with military honours.  Today, city residents and a number of public officials gathered to pay respects to the fallen soldier. Baizar and his three colleagues, including the Air Wing Commander Adran Ramirez, died when the chopper they were travelling in went down. We followed Baizar’s memorial service from the church to the burial site. Here’s the story.


Major Kenrick Martinez, Belize Defense Force

“Major Baizar was very candid when he was asked why he joined the B.D.F. He joined for one reason, to become a pilot.”


Andrea Polanco

…and an outstanding and pioneering pilot he became. Major Radford Baizar was a decorated pilot and instructor of the Belize Defense Force’s air wing team. He joined the force in 2006. And he trained and worked hard to make that dream come true. He returned from his aviation studies to become Belize’s first military helicopter pilot.


Major Kenrick Martinez

“He was selected to attend the military aviation school CMAS in Kingston, Jamaica. Major Baizar flourished, completing phase one and two in fix wing, single engine aircraft, namely the Diamond DA40. He went on to complete phase three in rotary, in civilian language, that is the Bell 206 jet ranger. Major Baizar returned to Belize and he was the first helicopter pilot; an accomplishment not only his blood and blood and B.D.F family should be proud of, but the nation as well.”


But his accomplishments didn’t end there. He went on to become one of the best helicopter pilot instructors.


Kenrick Martinez

Major Kenrick Martinez

“After pilot training, Baizar excelled at the air wing and he went on to become an aircraft captain on the BN2B Defender. When Belize received rotary assets for the first time, he was also captain on the UHIH Huey helicopter. But he topped his class and was selected to undergo additional training and that made him a helicopter instructor pilot. He was chartered with the responsibility to train all young officers developing them into co-pilots and aircraft captain on the UHIH helicopter.”


…and he was piloting one such aircraft when his illustrious career and life ended one week ago. Baizar, his colleagues Major Adran Ramirez, Corporals Reynaldo Choco and Yassir Mendez, were killed when the helicopter they were in went down in the western lagoon off the Coastal Road. The air wing men were providing air surveillance support to law enforcement authorities who intercepted a drug plane.

But his achievements and service to the country is what has brought out residents from all over to pay respects as his casket was led through the streets in a military procession to the Saint John’s Cathedral Anglican Church. There, government officials, colleagues, family and friends celebrated his life this afternoon. Relative Benson Matthews fondly remembers Baizar’s life – from his dreams, to being a father, and selfless friend.


Benson Matthews

Benson Matthews, Relative of Deceased

“His dream was to join the Belize Defence Force and become a pilot and serve his country with pride and honor. In 2006, Radford resigned from Belize Medical Associates and took his officer’s selection board examination in which he was successful. This was one of the happiest days of his life as he got to pursue his life’s dreams. Radford Lee Baizar grew up in Lake Independence on the south side of Belize. He rose from humble beginnings to outstanding achievements. He was an exemplary citizen whom south side could proudly claim as their own.  Radford was a devoted father who created lots of memories with his children. One of his favourite father-son memories was motorcycle rides with Reyn. Reyn was placed in front of him on the motorbike, which allowed Reyn to turn around and say to Radford, ‘I love you dad.’ Raddy love helping others. He was always there for family and friends to assist in any way he could. He was authentic, dependable, considerate and always wore a welcoming smile.”


Following the service, Baizar’s casket was led once more through the streets for residents to pay last respects. It was then led in a motorcade to the Homeland Memorial cemetery on the George Price Highway Way. He was sent off with a twenty-one gun salute to the strains of the bugler’s Last Post. Radford Lee Baizar, Major of the Belize Defense Force, dead at thirty-five-years-old. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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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