In 1947 the Governor of Barbados called for a Regiment be formed in Barbados this task was given to Lt. Colonel J. O. Connell who became the commanding officer. The regiment grew to number 250 and in 1974 the first female officer was added.
On the 15th of August 1979 the Barbados Defence Force was formed and the officers of the Barbados Regiment were given the option of joining full time or remaining on the reserve. Many of them took up the offer while some of the Regiment chose to remain the reserve element of the Regular Force. There were also several officers who ad once served with the British forces and were now retired who joined the Barbados Defence Force and their experience was invaluable.
The first ceremonial parades that the Barbados Defence Force took part in were the Remembrance Day and Independence day parades in 1979 and they have continued to do so to this day.
In October 198 the Barbados Defence Force was part of the U.S military rescue mission to Grenada and they have been involved with disaster relief throughout the Caribbean.
Today they can be seen exercising around the Garrison Savannah, providing security patrols around the Island and patrolling the beaches at night. They are also the only people who are allowed to wear camouflage in the island. This was made law by Tom Addams a former Prime Minister of Barbados who thought it best to do this in hopes that Barbados would never have camouflage wearing rebels as are seen in such places as Columbia.
In 1977 the original Coast Guard Base was moved from Oistins to Willoughby Fort in Bridgetown. The Coast guard is an integral part of the Barbados Defence Force. They too have been involved with disaster relief in many islands and supplied help to flood victims in Barbados on many occasions.
The Coast Guard has been fully engaged in patrolling the maritime borders in search and rescue operations as well as running drug patrols. the work closely with the US Coast Guard to help prevent the trafficking of drugs.
The base at Willoughby Fort proved vulnerable to high seas and so a new more protected base has been built next to the Barbados Flour Mill to the North of Bridgetown.
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