Categorized | National News


Governor General, Dame Marguerite Pindling said the ultimate sacrifice of the four marines and the ongoing dangers encountered by crew and marines today are reminders that members of the RBDF and other security forces protect the nation by placing their lives in harm’s way.

“For this they deserve a grateful nation, said the Governor General.

May 10this a defining moment in the life of the Royal Bahamas Defense Force, which as customary, marked the Anniversary of the sinking of the HMBS Flamingo by Cuban Military Jetfighters, Four young marines, Able Seaman Fenrick Sturrup, Marine Seaman Austin Rudolph Smith, David Allison Tucker and Marine Seaman Edward Arnold Williams died during the incident in 1980. The four young marines and others on the RBDF who lost their lives since then were remembered during a solemn ceremony on Friday, May 10th.

Among the dignitaries attending the 39thAnniversary Memorial Service were Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, the Hon. Darren Henfield, Minister of Foreign Affairs; the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd, Minister of Education; senior government officials, representatives of the Bahamas Correctional Services, the Departments of Customs and Immigration, and US Charge d’Affaires, Stephanie Bowers.

Lieutenant Commander Whitfield Neely, the only active service member of the HMBS Flamingo ship’s company, along with the other former marines, family of the honourees and members of the RBDF were in attendance.

The somber ceremony took place at HMBS Coral Harbour and included a ceremony of colours, a gun salute by Defence Force Colour Party and wreath laying at the monument in Flamingo Memorial Party and at the waterside.

 Dame Marguerite  the period following the sinking of HMBS Flamingo as a time of national distress and sadness when The Bahamas was forced to face the realities of self-governance and the meaning of sovereignty. She said the tragic event shocked the country and was a vivid reminder of the nation’s need to be able its homeland wherever and whenever necessary.

“The terror which resulted was something unexpected within the tranquil waters of our nation. Thus, as a newly independent nation we experienced one of the defining moments of our history and in our relationships in the community of nations. Ordinarily, such an incident would have caused a rift in relations between two neighbours,  but early following the incident it was clear that there was a sheer determination to maintain good relations,” said the Governor General.

“Today, The Bahamas and the Republic of Cuba continue to work together with mutual respect in the interest of our common objectives of peace and security.”

She remarked that although The Bahamas continues to face challenges to its sovereignty and security poised by nefarious criminal activities including trafficking of human beings, fire arms, illicit drugs and poaching, the men and women of the RBDF have been resolute in their efforts to maintain the safety and security of the nation.

The four heroes are recognized as the first to give their lives in service to The Bahamas as members of the RBDF.

Members of HMBS Flamingo who were also honoured at the Service were Sub Lieutenant Anthon Allens, Petty Officer Petterson James, Leading Mechanic Denzil Clarke, Leading Mechanic Gregory Curry, Able Mechanic Eugene Thompson, Able Seaman Trevor Sands, Able Seaman Cladwell Farrington, Marine Seaman Anthony Russell, Marine Seaman Willard Saunders and Marine Seaman John Wallace.

Members of the crew of the HMBS Flamingo who have since passed by include Acting Sub Lieutenant Wilfred Sands, Chief Petty Oscar Miller, Chief Petty Officer Leo Kirby, and Senior Commander Amos Rolle, Commanding Officer of HMBS Flamingo at the time.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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