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Jun 11, 2021

New Commanding Officer At BDF Air Wing Prioritizes Pilot Safety

The Belize Defense Force’s Air Wing has a new Commanding Officer. Major Kenroy Smith took on the role on June first. He has also taken on the job of flight instructor of the B.D.F. Air Wing after completing training with the Honduran Air Force. New Five’s Paul Lopez met up with Major Kenroy at the B.D.F.’s Air Wing at the Phillip Goldson International Airport today.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

Major Kenroy Smith succeeds Commanding Officer Major Adrian Ramirez who died during a helicopter crash in March of 2020. But he is also succeeding deceased flight instructor Major Radford Baezar, who also died that day.  Major Smith was third in command behind both fallen soldiers, at the time of the incident.


Major Kenroy Smith, Belize Defense Force Air Wing

Major Kenroy Smith

“Presently we have seven pilots here at the air wing. We do have a series of aircraft engineers to compliment the crew. If you do, what is your philosophy when it comes to training, when it comes to flying and operating this wing?”


Paul Lopez

“Do you have a philosophy?”


Major Kenroy Smith

“Yes I do, I always try to advice the guys to be as precise as possible, to strive for protection. And if at anytime they feel unsafe or they feel unsure of a particular mission, a particular task or manoeuvre, to just abort the mission and do not push yourselves to the limit. You all know your limit and so you know what is most comfortable for you.”


Major Smith is trained to operate all aircraft in the air wing fleet. For Major Smith, safety is top priority, to prevent a re-occurrence of that helicopter tragedy.

Major Kenroy Smith

“For us here at the air wing safety is paramount and that is something that we have strived to improve. And we have made a series of improvements, both in the way we conduct our operations and in terms of the way how we train. So with that we have tried as best as possible to improve all of our guidelines and manoeuvres to ensure that we are operating within the safest means possible. As with any other unforeseen accidents or mishaps, there are always lessons learnt. And we do have some lessons that we would have taken on board and try to rectify and remedy those, put the necessary mechanisms, procedures in place to prevent such a reoccurrence.”


Major Smith says he enjoys the support of his unit as he takes on his new roles, first as the Commanding officer, and second as the flight instructor–roles that position the force for either success or failure.

Major Kenroy Smith

“Having me here as an instructor pilot simply will afford the unit that operational capability, knowing that the pilots who are operating the helicopter are doing so within the guidelines and within our standing orders.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

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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