Fallen American and Bahamian Members of the Armed Services Honoured
On Monday, May 26, representatives from the United States Embassy, Bahamian counterparts in law enforcement and other government officials came together in solemn tribute at the site of the Memorial to Patrol Squad 23 to honor the memory of the 10 United States crew members who lost their lives during a fateful training mission off the coast of Nassau on May 7, 1954.
Later that same year, the Clifton Pier monument was erected in honor of the lost Sailors of MA-5. Among the officials on hand to mark the occasion, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires John Dinkelman, Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes and Lady Foulkes, Major General Walter Roy, Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army North, Deputy Prime Minister and Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Philip Davis, Minister of National Security, Dr. Bernard Nottage, Commodore of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Roderick Bowe, family members of the fallen sailors and the Bahamian servicemen.
Chargé Dinkelman noted the significance of the annual observance of Memorial Day as it is a day set aside to reflect on those who were lost protecting and defending the many freedoms enjoyed today.
“We salute the commitment and the sacrifices of the diverse contingent of the servicemen and women of the United States armed forces, including those Bahamians counted among their ranks.” He added, “from Bunker Hill to Afghanistan, brave men and women in uniform have stepped forward and answered the call – knowing they may never return to their loved ones.”
The VP-23 Squadron members included LTJG William H. Martin, ENS Leland R. Osborn, ENS John C. Tinney, John W. Holle, ADC, Joseph A. Kiliszewski, AT3, Franz E. Nelson, AO3, Thomas R. Caylor, ATAN, Gerald P. Lepard, AD3, Albert J. Olson, AT3 and Fred M. Sparks, AL1. Special recognition was also given to Bahamian Private First Class Norman Darling who died in the Iraq War in 2004 and Sergeant Errol McKinney, U.S. Army, a Bahamian killed in a motorcycle accident in 2013 shortly after to returning to Ft. Bliss, Texas following a deployment to Afghanistan.
The memorial service also included a reflective moment of silence, tributes by family members of the fallen sailors, and the formal acknowledgement of veterans, SGT. McKinney, PFC Darling, and the crew of the men of Squadron VP-23. The service members were honored with a gun salute by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and the traditional playing of Taps by the Royal Bahamas Police Force along the beautiful shoreline. The ceremony concluded with the release of a commemorative wreath into the water by officers onboard RBDF Cutter P-125.
Captions from top to bottom:
The fallen service members honored with a gun salute by the RBDF.
The formal acknowledgement of veterans, SGT. McKinney, PFC Darling, and the crew of the men of Squadron VP-23 by First Lt. Chelsea Smit, U.S. Army National Guard.
U.S. and Bahamian officials with families of the men of Squadron VP-23.
U.S. and Bahamian officials with families of PFC Darling and SGT McKinney.