The Royal Bahamas Defence Force held a special ceremony this morning at the Coral Harbour Base in honour of 4 fallen Marines who perished in a tragic incident 37 years ago.
Special guests for the occasion included Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling, Governor General of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas; the Right honourable Perry G. Christie, Prime Minister; Senator the honourable Allyson Maynard-Gibson, Attorney General and Leader of the Free National Movement, Dr. Hubert Minnis.
On May 10th 1980, after arresting two (2) Cuban fishing vessels near the Ragged Island Chain, Able Seaman Fenrick Sturrup (21), Marine Seaman Austin Rudolph Smith (21), Marine Seaman David Allison Tucker (21) and Marine Seaman Edward Arnold Williams (23) were killed when Cuban MIG jets fired upon and sank HMBS Flamingo.
Family members of the 4 fallen Marines along with some of the survivors from the ill-fated HMBS Flamingo were on hand to pay their respects. Prime Minister Christie, Senator the Honourable Maynard-Gibson and Commodore Tellis Bethel, Commander Defence Force brought remarks at the ceremony.
While remembering the fallen marines, members of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force were urged to continue performing their duties in protecting and guarding the territorial integrity of The Bahamas with the same tenacity as the crew of the HMBS Flamingo. Commodore Tellis Bethel capitalized on this opportunity to present the very first batch of Veterans ID cards to the surviving members of the Flamingo as well as to Retired Commodores Clifford Scavella and Roderick Bowe.
A wreath was laid at the HMBS Memorial Monument at the Defence Force Base by Her Excellency and family members of the 4 marines. Afterwards another wreath was released in the Harbour, to commemorate those lost at sea, bringing the solemn ceremony to an end.