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Jamaica Defence Force

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jamaica Defence Force
Seal of the Jamaica Defence Force.svg
Jamaica Defence Force badge
Founded31 July 1962; 57 years ago (1962-07-31)
Service branches
HeadquartersUp Park Camp, Kingston, Jamaica
WebsiteOfficial website
Prime MinisterAndrew Holness
Minister of DefenceAndrew Holness
Chief of Defence StaffLieutenant General Rocky Ricardo Meade
Military age16 years of age for selection process, 17 years of age is actual serving age (as of 2007)
Available for
military service
747,043, age 16–49 (2005 est.)
Fit for
military service
523,550, age 16–49 (2005 est.)
Reaching military
age annually
27,729 (2005 est.)
Budget$31,170,000 (ranked 141st)
Percent of GDP0.6% (2007)
Related articles
RanksMilitary ranks of Jamaica

The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) is the combined military of Jamaica, consisting of an infantry Regiment and Reserve Corps, an Air Wing, a Coast Guard fleet and a supporting Engineering Unit.[1] The JDF is based upon the British military model, with similar organisation, training, weapons and traditions. Once chosen, officer candidates are sent to one of several British or Canadian basic officer courses depending upon the arm of service. Enlisted soldiers are given basic training at JDF Training Depot Newcastle. As on the British model, NCOs are given several levels of professional training as they rise up the ranks. Additional military schools are available for speciality training in Canada, China, the United States, and the United Kingdom.


West Indian soldiers, c. 1861
West Indian soldiers, c. 1861

The JDF is directly descended from the British West India Regiment formed during the colonial era. The West India Regiment was used extensively by the British in policing the empire from 1795 to 1926. Other units in the JDF heritage include the early colonial Jamaica Militia, the Kingston Infantry Volunteers of WWI and reorganised into the Jamaican Infantry Volunteers in WWII. The West India Regiment was reformed in 1958 as part of the West Indies Federation. The dissolution of the Federation resulted in the establishment of the JDF.

The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) comprises an infantry Regiment and Reserve Corps, an Air Wing, a Coast Guard fleet and a supporting Engineering Unit. The infantry regiment contains the 1st, 2nd and 3rd (National Reserve) battalions. The JDF Air Wing is divided into three flight units, a training unit, a support unit and the JDF Air Wing (National Reserve). The Coast Guard element is divided between seagoing crews and support crews. It conducts maritime safety and maritime law enforcement as well as defence-related operations. The support battalion contains a Military Police platoon as well as vehicle, armourers and supply units. The 1st Engineer Regiment provides military engineering support to the JDF. The Headquarters JDF contains the JDF commander, command staff as well as intelligence, judge advocate office, administrative and procurement sections.

In recent years the JDF has been called upon to assist the nation's police, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), in fighting drug smuggling and a rising crime rate which includes one of the highest murder rates in the world.[citation needed] JDF units actively conduct armed patrols with the JCF in high-crime areas and known gang neighbourhoods. There has been vocal controversy as well as support of this JDF role. In early 2005, an opposition leader, Edward Seaga, called for the merger of the JDF and JCF. This move did not garner support in either organisation nor among the majority of citizens.

Major units of the Jamaica Defence Force

Jamaican soldiers in 2010
Jamaican soldiers in 2010
  • Headquarters, Jamaica Defence Force (HQ JDF) - divided into the Operations Branch and Adjutant Quartermaster's Branch, this is the main command of the entire JDF.
  • The Jamaica Regiment - The Jamaica Regiment is the operationalization of a terrestrial and combat focused Regular Force formation with an overarching operational headquarters in command of five (5) battalions; the First, Second, Fourth and Fifth Battalions the Jamaica Regiment (1, 2, 4, 5 JR) and the Combat Support Battalion (Cbt Sp Bn).
  • The Support Brigade (Sp Bde) - The Support Brigade is a Regular Force formation that will provide both combat support and service support functions with an overarching operational headquarters for five (5) units; the Directorate of Training and Doctrine ( Dir of Trg and Doct), 1 Engineer Regiment JDF (1 Engr Regt (JDF), the Support and Services Battalion (Sp and Svcs Bn), the Military Police Battalion (MP Bn) and the Health Services Corps (HSC). In addition it will also see the creation of the Caribbean Military Academy (CMA). The CMA is the academic institutional arm of the JDF that will provide internationally recognized, accredited, doctrinally relevant professional military education and training to a common standard in support of the operational needs of Jamaica and also to partner military and paramilitary organizations across the Caribbean region and around the world.
  • The Maritime, Air and Cyber Command (MACC) - The Maritime, Air and Cyber Command (MACC) is a multi-domain focused Regular Force formation with an operational headquarters in command of six (6) units; the First and Second Districts Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard (1stand 2ndDist JDF CG), the Jamaica Defence Force Air Wing (JDF AW), the Military Intelligence Unit (MIU), the Special Activities Regiment (SPEAR) and the Military Cyber Corps (MCC).
  • The Jamaica National Reserve (JNR) - The Jamaica National Reserve (JNR) is a multi-domain focused Reserve Force formation that has been expanded to include a headquarters element in command of four (4) units; the Third, Sixth and Ninth Battalions the Jamaica Regiment (3, 6 and 9 JR (NR)) in addition to the Support Battalion (National Reserve) (Sp Bn (NR).
  • The Jamaica National Service Corps (JNSC) - The Jamaica National Service Corps (JNSC) is the newest category of service in the JDF. It was designed to instill positive values and attitudes, whilst providing young men and women with a range of life skills in order to make them better equipped for success in their chosen career path; which may on completion include service in the JDF.


The JDF also supports two military bands;

  • Jamaica Military Band - this is the band that is descended from the band of the West India Regiment, and was formed in February 1927. It is one of only two units in the world (the other being the Band of the Barbados Regiment) that wears the uniform of the zouaves.[2][3]
  • Jamaica Regiment Band - this band was originally formed as the Band of the West India Regiment formed in 1959 as the military force of the Federation of the West Indies. With the Federation's break up and the independence of Jamaica, it became the Band of the 1st Battalion, Jamaica Regiment. It gained its current name with the formation of the 2nd Battalion in 1979.[4]

Army equipment

FN MAG machine gun
FN MAG machine gun
Name[5][6] Origin Type Variant Notes
Small arms
GP35 United States pistol
Glock Austria Pistol 17
M16 Rifle United States assault rifle M4
SA80 United Kingdom assault rifle
FN MAG Belgium machine gun L7A1
M2 machine gun United States heavy machine gun
 Springfield M79 United States Grenade Launcher
L16 81mm Mortar United Kingdom Mortar
2-inch mortar United Kingdom Mortar
Land Rover United Kingdom patrol vehicle
Toyota Land Cruiser Japan utility vehicle
Toyota Hiace Japan Minibus
Toyota Coaster Japan Minibus
 Ford L Truck United States heavy-duty truck  LN7000/8000
Toyota Dyna Japan van
Armored vehicles
Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle [7] Australia APC 12[7]
Cadillac Gage Commando United States  APC retired [8]
Staff cars
Volvo S90 Sweden executive car 1 for use by the Chief of Staff
Toyota Crown Japan executive car used by senior staff and commanding officers
Toyota Corona Japan executive car used by senior officers
Toyota Hilux Japan pickup truck used for administrative purposes
Toyota Camry Japan executive car Used for senior officers
Toyota Land Cruiser Prado Japan  utility vehicle for administrative purposes

JDF Air Wing

Roundel of Jamaica Defence Force Air Wing
Roundel of Jamaica Defence Force Air Wing

Current inventory

Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Maritime Patrol
Super King Air United States maritime patrol 350 1[9]
Bell 407 United States utility / patrol 3[9]
Bell 412 United States utility / SAR 2[9]
Bell 429 United States utility / SAR 5[9]
Trainer Aircraft
Bell 206 United States trainer 2[9]
Diamond DA40 Canada basic trainer DA40 FP 2[10]
Diamond DA42 Canada multi-engine trainer DA42 NG 2[9][10]


Previous aircraft operated by the Air Force consisted of the BN-2 Islander, Beechcraft King Air, Cessna 210, Bell 47G, Bell 212, and the Bell 222UT helicopter[11][12]


On July 1, 2009, a Jamaica Defence Force Air Wing Bell 412EP helicopter was on its way back to Up Park Camp from a training mission when it began experiencing mechanical issues. The helicopter crashed into the ground at Up Park Camp, injuring the captain, his co-pilot and a crew member.[13]

JDF Coast Guard

Jamaican naval ensign
Jamaican naval ensign

A year after the JDF was formed in 1962, a naval arm, the Jamaica Sea Squadron was added. The squadron’s initial vessels were three 63ft wooden World War II torpedo recovery boats provided by the United States. They were commissioned “Her Majesty’s Jamaican Ship” HMJS Yoruba (P1), HMJS Coromante (P2) and HMJS Mandingo (P3). A training team from the Royal Navy assisted with the unit’s early development. In 1966 they changed names from the Jamaica Sea Squadron to the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard.[14]

As of 2016, the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard was staffed by 241 individuals.[1]


Jamaican Coast Guard patrol vessels
Jamaican Coast Guard patrol vessels
Vessel Origin Type In service Notes
HMJS Cornwall Netherlands patrol vessel 1[15]  County-class
HMJS Middlesex Netherlands patrol vessel 1[15]  County-class
HMJS Fort Charles United States patrol boat 1
HMJS Paul Bogle United States patrol boat 1
Boston Whaler United States interceptor 2[16] 37 foot Justice model

Ranks of the JDF

Commissioned Officers

The rank insignia for commissioned officers for the army and Coast Guard respectively.

NATO code
OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) and student officer
Jamaica Jamaica
No equivalent
Lieutenant General Major General Brigadier Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Major Captain First Lieutenant Second Lieutenant Officer Cadet

Jamaica Jamaica
No equivalent
British Royal Navy (sleeves) OF-8.svg
British Royal Navy (sleeves) OF-7.svg
British Royal Navy (sleeves) OF-6.svg
British Royal Navy (sleeves) OF-5.svg
British Royal Navy (sleeves) OF-4.svg
British Royal Navy (sleeves) OF-3.svg
British Royal Navy (sleeves) OF-2.svg
Canadian RCN OF-1b.svg
British Royal Navy (sleeves) OF-1b.svg
British Royal Navy OF-1a.svg
Vice admiral Rear admiral Commodore Captain Commander Lieutenant commander Lieutenant Lieutenant (junior grade) Sub-Lieutenant Midshipman

NATO code
OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) and student officer

The rank insignia for enlisted personnel for the army and Coast Guard respectively.

NATO code
OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
Jamaica Jamaica
Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army
Warrant Officer Class 2
Staff Sergeant
No equivalent
Lance Corporal
No insignia
Warrant Officer Class 1 Warrant Officer Class 2 Staff sergeant Sergeant Corporal Lance corporal Private
(or equivalent)

Jamaica Jamaica
British Royal Navy OR-9.svg
British Royal Navy OR-8.svg
British Royal Navy OR-7.svg
British Royal Navy OR-6.svg
No equivalent
British Royal Navy OR-4.svg
No equivalent
No insignia
Master Chief Petty Officer I Master Chief Petty Officer II Chief Petty Officer Petty Officer Leading Seaman Able Seaman Ordinary Seaman
OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1

Additional training

Besides inhouse training, the JDF has been trained by members of the Canadian Forces to deal with special needs[vague].[17]

See also



  1. ^ a b Sanjay Badri-Maharaj (2016-12-11). "Jamaica Defence Force: Balancing Priorities With Resources – Analysis". Eurasia Review. Archived from the original on 2016-12-12. Retrieved 2016-12-11. The Jamaica Defence Force is a brigade-sized unit comprising land, sea and air formations and is possibly the largest military establishment within the English-speaking Caribbean.
  2. ^ "Jamaica Military Band". Jamaica Defence Force. Archived from the original on 2016-04-04.
  3. ^ "Jamaica Defense Force Band Archives". Archived from the original on 2018-08-13. Retrieved 2018-08-12.
  4. ^ "Jamaica Regiment Band (TU)". Jamaica Defence Force. Archived from the original on 2016-03-08.
  5. ^ "Jamaica". Armies of the World. Archived from the original on 2016-12-26. The military budget is 48 million dollars (2001).
  6. ^ "Equipment". Jamaica Defence Force. Archived from the original on 2016-06-30.
  7. ^ a b "PM Commissions JDF's Protected Mobility Vehicles Squadron". 2016-01-14. Archived from the original on 2018-01-17. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  8. ^ "JDF to Acquire New Fleet of Armoured Vehicles". 2013-12-03. Archived from the original on 2018-01-11. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  9. ^ a b c d e f "World Air Forces 2020". Flightglobal Insight. 2020. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  10. ^ a b "Aircraft". Jamaica Defence Force. Archived from the original on 2016-07-11.
  11. ^ "World Air Forces 1975 pg. 303". Archived from the original on 14 January 2018. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  12. ^ "World Air Forces 1987 pg. 66". Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  13. ^ "3 JDF soldiers injured in helicopter crash". The Jamaica Observer. 2 July 2009. Archived from the original on 5 July 2009.
  14. ^ "MOTTO:Service for the Lives of Others". Jamaica Defense Fund. Archived from the original on 2017-01-18. Retrieved 2017-02-20. The Sea Squadron was renamed the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard (JDF CG) in 1966 and the naval White Ensign, naval rank insignia and Royal Navy - patterned uniforms were adopted.
  15. ^ a b "Jamaica Defence Force returns to Damen for fleet renewal Share this page". Damen Group. 2016-11-17. Archived from the original on 2017-02-18. Retrieved 2017-02-20.
  16. ^ "JDF Coast Guard gets two new vessels from United States". The Jamaica Observer. 27 August 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  17. ^ "Canada lends search and rescue aid to Jamaica". CBC News. 10 August 2011. Archived from the original on 27 January 2016.


External links

This page was last edited on 23 May 2020, at 14:19
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