Categorized | National News

Two Bahamian Soldiers Honoured At Memorial Ceremony

Tribute was paid to fallen comrades at a Memorial Day Ceremony held at the Clifton Pier Memorial with a wreath laying ceremony yesterday. 

Special recognition was given to U.S. Patrol Squadron 23 sailors, who died off the coast of Nassau on May 7, 1954.

During the ceremony, Charge d’ Affaires, of the U S Embassy Nassau, Stephanie Bowers also took the time to honour two Bahamians who served in the US Army, one of whom lost his life in the Iraq War in 2004. 

“This Memorial Day, we also remember two Bahamians who served in the US Army. Sgt. Errol McKinney and Private First-class Norman Darling. 

“We recognize their service and sacrifice as well as that of their families, a powerful reminder that the United States Military includes in its service citizens of many nations,” Mrs. Bowers said.

During her remarks, Mrs. Bowers also paid tribute to 10 sailors who lost their lives 64 years ago during a training mission off the coast of Nassau. 

“Memorial Day began as a way to honour those who lost their lives during one of the most tragic times in US history. Today across America’s cities and towns Memorial Day will once again be observed. 

“This particular monument erected in stone is a testament to the 10 sailors in patrol squadron 23, who tragically lost their lives on May 7, 1964. 

“It also stands as a tribute to all those who lost their lives in the arms services, not just here in The Bahamas, but around the world. On this day in particular, we become feeble as we look on the water where 10 service men lost their lives. Although words cannot repay the debt we owe them, we must remember them,” Mrs. Bowers said.

Governor General, Dame Marguerite Pindling, in paying tribute spoke of the relationship between the Bahamas and the US which she says stands on a solid foundation of mutual respect and common principles.

“It is highly appropriate for The Bahamas to unite in this particular event and to solemnly recall the bravery and sacrifice made by the crew members of Patrol Squadron 23, as well as others who have perished in the regional and global thrusts toward democracy and peace. 

“Naturally because of our good relationships and proximity, many Bahamians have joined the American Military services and regrettably some have also made the supreme sacrifice. This is therefore another valid and appropriate reason for us to jointly commemorate their battle, express our sympathy and ensure that they are never forgotten,” Dame Marguerite said.

“I consider this Memorial Day to have another important message beyond the remembering of the fallen; it is also an opportunity to continue to implant in the hearts of all of our people the necessity to remain vigilant and to constantly remind ourselves, our youth and generations to come of the seriousness involved in nation building,” she said.

Remembering their loved ones, daughter of ADC John Holle Hope Lamb and Pericles Maillis son of Alexander Maillis who was on site to assist with recovery efforts expressed gratitude for continued support of both the US and the Bahamas.

VP-23 Squadron Neptune aircraft (MA-5) and its crew, crashed after take-off from Windsor Field while participating in an exercise ASDEVEX 1-54 with ships from the Atlantic Fleet.  The wreckage of the MA-5 was located approximately three and three-quarters miles from the west end of runway 27 at Windsor field. On September 4, 1954 the Clifton Pier monument was erected in honor of the lost Sailors of MA-5.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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