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Military


Jamaica Regiment

The mission of the Jamaica Defence Force is to provide a military capability to deter and/or defeat threats to the Jamaican state and/or its interests. In doing so, it is comprised primarily of two infantry battalions, the First Battalion the Jamaica Regiment (1JR), and the Second Battalion the Jamaica Regiment (2JR), both of which are light, non-mechanised Units with a full complement of officers, enlisted ranks and organic elements, as well as transport, weapons, kit and equipment.

The predominant element in the JDF is the Jamaica Regiment, whose origins go back to the West India Regiment that was founded in 1798 and used by the British in the American Revolution and various colonial campaigns in West Africa, as well as during World War I. The regiment, reconstituted as the New West India Regiment, formed the core of the defense force of the short-lived West Indies Federation in 1958-62.

After the federation disintegrated, the First Battalion and Third Battalion of the regiment became the First Battalion and Third Battalion of the Jamaica Regiment. The Second Battalion was incorporated by Trinidad and Tobago in its new national forces. In 1962 the Jamaica Local Forces OLF) was formed as one of the conditions under which Jamaica was granted independence. The JLF soon evolved into the JDF, but the First Battalion and Third Battalion of tFie JDF retained their historical designations.

These Units are primarily involved with providing:

  • Defence against military or paramilitary threats
  • Military aid to Civil Authorities
  • Internal Security Support
  • Counter-narcotics Operations
  • Search and Rescue (SAR) Operations
  • Humanitarian and disaster relief
  • Counter Terrorism
  • State ceremonials

By the 1980s JDF ground force equipment was almost exclusively of British origin and included the SLR rifle, Sterling submachine gun, general-purpose machine gun, and twelve 81mm mortars. The army also had a small number of Ferret scout cars, supplemented by fifteen Cadillac-Gage v-i 50 Commando wheeled armored personnel carriers received from the United States.

The two Regular Infantry Battalions, the 1st Battalion the Jamaica Regiment and the 2nd Battalion the Jamaica Regiment, rotate between Lathbury Barracks, Up Park Camp, Kingston and the Moneague Training Camp, Moneague, St Ann at the beginning of each year. The Battalions duties include assistance to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) in maintaining Law and Order in specific areas as designated by a Joint Task Force Headquarters comprising command elements from both the JCF and the JDF. This assistance usually takes the form of mobile/foot patrols, cordon and search operations, raids, vehicle check points, surge and other types of support. Assistance to the Jamaica Constabulary Force in conducting joint Internal Security (IS) Operations in order to capture wanted persons, recover illegal firearms, ammunition and illegal drugs, and restore and maintain law and order within specific communities.

Troops are usually based at and deployed from the Metcalfe Street Operational Centre (MSOC) in Western Kingston, as well as from Up Park Camp. The operations conducted are usually driven by a Joint Task Force Headquarters and include Mobile and Foot Patrols, Cordons and Searches, Snap Raids, Vehicle Check Points and Counter-terrorism and Counter Criminal Gang Leader operations.

When in Moneague the Battalion's Operations are to provide assistance to the Department of Correctional Services at the Horizon Adult Remand Centre (HARC) in Kingston. The Battalion provides heightened security for a number of special remandees/inmates at that institution. Ceremonial Guards are provided at the National Heroes Circle. There is a change of sentries that takes place each day on the hour that is open for viewing by the public. Narcotics Eradication and Interdiction across the country usually include the destruction of cultivated and cured marijuana, and a host of interdiction operations against the wide range of illicit drugs which pass through Jamaican territory.

The 1st Battalion The Jamaica Regiment rotates between Up Park Camp, Kingston and Moneague Training Camp, St. Ann, every twelve months and its operational commitments vary accordingly. The Battalion is committed to assisting the civil police in the Metropolitan Area of Kingston and St. Andrew and the adjoining parish of St. Catherine. The Unit provides assistance to the police for various operations geared toward targeting illegal firearms and ammunitions, illegal drugs and the restoration and maintenance of law and order.

The First Battalion The Jamaica Regiment (1 JR) was formed on 31 July 1962, a week prior to Jamaicas independence. The Unit was created from the First Battalion of the disbanded West India Regiment. Based on the steady growth of the Batallion and the changing security environment, in May 1979 the decision was taken to divide the Battalion to form a second infantry Batallion for the regular Force. The First Battalion was split and four companies (a headquarter company and 3 rifle companies) were taken to form the nucleus of the Second Battalion The Jamaica Regiment (2JR). The unit has a proud tradition of excellence, excelling in inter-unit competitions of the Jamaica Defence Force as represented in its motto "First and Foremost".

The First Battalion The Jamaica Regiment (1 JR) is the first regular fighting (Infantry) unit of the Jamaica Defence Force. It was formed on the 31 July 1962, along with three other units, to create the JDF just days before Jamaicas Independence. Jamaica had gained independence from Britain and needed its own armed force as a new sovereign state. The members of this newly formed Infantry Regiment were drawn from the disbanded West India Regiment (former colonial forces). By 1979 the Battalion had grown to eight companies. In May the Battalion was split in two; half remained as the First Battalion The Jamaica Regiment and the other half formed the nucleus of the Second Battalion The Jamaica Regiment, whose home-base became the Moneague Training Camp in St Ann.

In the late 1970s there was great need for a second regular battalion, as the JDF was heavily tasked with giving assistance to the civil power in the pre-election period. On 21 May 1979 the Second Battalion the Jamaica Regiment (2JR) came together for the first time in the men's Dining Hall at the Moneague Training Camp in St Ann, where they were addressed by their first commanding officer. The 21st May 1979 is therefore regarded as the birthday of 2JR, and Moneague Training Camp as the home of the Battalion. When the Battalion was a month old it was thrust into its first operation in the immediate wake of the June 1979 massive western Jamaica floods. The unit was deployed to the parishes of St Elizabeth and Westmoreland during this operation.

Troops are usually based at and deployed from the Metcalfe Street Operational Centre (MSOC) in Western Kingston, as well as from Up Park Camp. The operations conducted are usually driven by a Joint Task Force Headquarters and include Mobile and Foot Patrols, Cordons and Searches, Snap Raids, Vehicle Check Points and Counter-terrorism operations.

Members of the Third Battalion the Jamaica Regiment (National Reserve) are only required to serve a minimum of 19 days for the year, which allows them to have gainful employment elsewhere, while still being able to serve their country in times of need. The infantry Reserve is located in four barracks across Jamaica: Curphey Barracks - Up Park Camp; Foster Barracks - Mandeville; Burke Barracks - Montego Bay; and Whitehorne Barracks - Port Maria. Up Park Camp houses the Battalion's headquarters, the Headquarter Company, and two other companies, Alpha and Bravo.

Unlike the Regular infantry companies, 3JR (NR) is staffed by a Training Major. There is also an Administrative Officer, a Quartermaster, and several Permanent Staff Instructors (PSIs) provided from the Regular Force. The Battalion is unique in that it has a regular and a reserve Regimental Sergeant Majors (RSM). The establishment requires that a Major commands each of the six companies.

Jamaicas records of voluntary military service date back to 1662. The Jamaica Militia, which was formed in that year, existed for nearly two and a half centuries, until it was eventually disbanded. In 1694, without any naval or regular army support, its volunteers repelled the only attempted invasion of Jamaica by a French force of over 1,400 other than the British, in 1655.

The name of the Reserve Unit has changed many times. In 1914, the name was changed from St. Andrew Rifle Corps (a semi-official unit formed by members of the disbanded Jamaica Infantry Militia) to Kingston Infantry Volunteers, and by 1939 to the Jamaica Infantry Volunteers. As part of the newly formed Jamaica Defence Force in 1962, the new Reserve Battalion was initially named First Battalion, The National Reserve, but in 1963 was renamed Third Battalion The Jamaica Regiment (National Reserve) (3JR (NR).

The Battalion can recall many memorable occasions in its short history. It was presented with the freedom of the City of Kingston in 1972, in recognition of its tenth anniversary. In 1975, it became the first Reserve Unit outside the United Kingdom, to parade its Colours for The Queen.

In 1980 the Government of Jamaica awarded the Certificate of Honour for Meritorious Service to 3JR (NR) for its assistance in relief operations, following the massive 1979 floods in Western Jamaica. In March 1995, the Battalion formed the Guard of Honour for the arrival of the President of Zambia on his State Visit to Jamaica. In July 1996, it was again on parade for the presentation of new Colours by the Governor-General of Jamaica.

The men of the Third Battalion The Jamaica Regiment continue the tradition of service and commitment to duty, which has been a guiding principle through the years, a dedication voluntarily given, through patriotism.





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