Belize Defence Force

Summary

Belize Defence Force
Belize Defence Force emblem.svg
Belize Defence Force emblem
MottoShoulder To Shoulder
Founded1 January 1978; 44 years ago (1978-01-01)
Service branches
HeadquartersPrice Barracks, Ladyville
Websitewww.bdf.mil.bz
Leadership
Commander-in-ChiefQueen Elizabeth II
Minister of National Defence and Border SecurityHon. Florencio Marin Jr.
Commander of the Defence ForceBrigadier General Azariel Loria[1]
Expenditures
Budget1.6% 2020 [2] $USD32ml.(2012)[3]
Industry
Foreign suppliers
Related articles
RanksMilitary ranks of Belize

The Belize Defence Force (BDF) is the military of Belize, and is responsible for protecting the sovereignty of the country. The BDF is under the Ministry of National Defence and Border Security, which is currently headed by Hon. Florencio Marin Jr.; the BDF itself is commanded by Brigadier General Azariel Loria. In 2012, the Belizean government spent about $17 million on the military, constituting 1.08% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).[4]

History

The military of Belize dates back to 1817, when the Prince Regent Royal Honduras Militia, a volunteer organization, was founded. Between 1817 and 1978, the military force in Belize has had ten different names:[5]

  • The Prince Regent's Royal Militia (1817-1866)
  • The Belize Volunteer Force (1866-1868)
  • The Belize Volunteer Corps (1868-1883)
  • The Belize Light Infantry Volunteer Force (1897-1905)
  • British Honduras Volunteers (1905-1916)
  • British Honduras Territorial Force (1916-1928)
  • British Honduras Defence Force (1928-1944)
  • British Honduras Home Guard (1942-1943)
  • British Honduras Volunteer Guard (1943-1973)
  • Belize Volunteer Guard (1973-1977)
Soldiers training from 2nd. Battalion

The BDF was founded in 1978 following the disbanding of the Belize Volunteer Guard and the Police Special Force the year before.[6]

After Belize achieved independence in 1981 the United Kingdom maintained the deterrent British Forces Belize in the country to protect it from invasion by Guatemala. During the 1980s this included a battalion and No. 1417 Flight RAF of Harriers. The main British force left in 1994, three years after Guatemala recognised Belizean independence, but the United Kingdom maintained a training presence via the British Army Training and Support Unit Belize (BATSUB) and 25 Flight AAC until 2011 when the last British Forces left Ladyville Barracks, with the exception of seconded advisers.[6] The BDF Maritime Wing became part of the Belize Coast Guard Service in November 2005.[7]

In October 2015, due to rising tensions between Belize and Guatemala and the British cutback on military bases worldwide to focus on the War On Terror in 2011, Belize asked the UK to bring BATSUB back; the British Government brought BATSUB to Belize once again.[8]

Organization

The BDF consists of:

  • Two infantry battalions, each comprising three companies

First Battalion

The First Infantry Battalion came into existence in 1993. This was as a direct result of the British Government decision to withdraw British Forces from Belize and handing over the Defence of Belize to Belizeans. Since that time, the battalion participated in extensive military exercises in Belize as well a selected part of its staff going aboard to participate in United Nations Peace Operations in Haiti. The battalion consists of three infantry companies and a small HQ staff. It operates in the entire country alternating from the South to the North of the country. Presently, it is stationed at Fairweather Camp, Punta Gorda in the Toledo District with its two companies and in Belize City marinating a presence to accomplish its task as stipulated in the Defence Act. Every February, the battalions alternate between Ladyville and Punta Gorda. [9]

Second Battalion

Second Infantry Battalion, a combination of men and women soldiers, was formed on 1 October 1994. The Battalion at that time had three Infantry Companies Sierra, Alpha and Echo Company. For the period 31 October 2000 to 31 August 2002, the Battalion nomenclature was revoked and redesignated a Land Command. Becoming either Land Command South (LCS) or Land Command North (LCN) depending on the rotation. LCN comprises the Cayo District, a partition of the Hummingbird Highway, Belize, Orange Walk and Corozal Districts. LCS comprises the Toledo and Stann Creek Districts and a portion of the Hummingbird Highway. These are now presently designated Battalion Tactical Areas of Responsibility (Bn TAOR) and Command HQs were based on rotation between Price Barracks and Fairweather Camp in Punta Gorda. On the 31 August 2002, LCS and LCN was reverted to being Second Infantry Battalion. This was under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Reynolds Lewis. However, this time the Coys were Hotel, Gulf and Sierra Companies. [9]

  • One volunteer Battalion

The history of British Honduras would not be complete without the story of the part played by the volunteer soldiers who banded themselves together and fought to preserve their lands, their homes and indeed, their own existence. In 1866, the detachment of the 4th West Indian Regiment was defeated in battle by the Indians near Orange Walk. Volunteers were enrolled at Belize and sent to the Hondo to deal with Indian raids locally. In January 1881, the volunteers were formed into four companies, A, B, C and D. In 1897, the Belize Light Infantry Volunteers was formed. On the 25th November, 1904, a mounted Infantry Company was formed. This Company justified very early its existence by providing the volunteers with a valuable mobile force during the Indian disturbances in the Western District.

Belize army M16A2 assault rifle

On the 4th August, 1914, the astounding news reached Belize that Great Britain had declared war on Germany in defence of Belgium. The force was immediately called out for active service. Later when another offer of men was accepted, 100 men under Lieutenant R. H. Furness was dispatched to England. These men made so good an impression that more men were asked for and a second contingent of over 400 men was sent over.

Men eager to serve but debarred from going overseas for one reason or another joined the volunteers and swelled the strength to over 1000. Companies were formed in Corozal, Stann Creek, El Cayo and Orange Walk, and detachments at Benque Viejo and Hill Bank. In August 1928, this force was disbanded and a new force of four platoons renamed the British Honduras Defence Force was formed. [9]

  • One Support Battalion

The Support Battalion commands the specialist platoons of the force. They are the Administrative Company, Mortar Platoon, Signal Platoon, Reece Platoon and the Combat Engineer Platoon. The Combat Engineer Platoon, formerly referred to as the Assault Pioneers in the early days of the BDF, has heavy equipment at its disposal and is trained to renovate and erect buildings as well as engage in construction. Part of the engineer unit is an Explosive Ordnance Device Team. Its role is to defuse or destroy bombs and engage in demolition work.[10]

The Belize Defence Force Air Wing is the aviation branch of the Belize Defence Force, formed in 1983 it is based at the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport in Ladyville. The main tasks of the Air Wing are Reconnaissance, SAR, CASEVAC, aerial resupply and troop transport. Furthermore, they assist the Belize Police Department in drug interdiction and anti-smuggling operations.

  • Special Boat Unit

The special boat unit is the Belize Defense Force maritime component that falls under the airwing. Their mandates includes mainly the entire country of Belize, all the rivers, and the coast lines. The people at the special boat unit are in charge of making sure that no illegal activities happen, occur within the country of Belize in the rivers and the coastline. They have a variety of boats which includes outboards and jet drive, however they are moving more into the riverine capabilities because their mandate includes mostly rivers. To distinguish them from the coast guard, because their uniform is kind of similar, is that people from the special boat unit, wear blue digitals whereas the coast guard use full blue. The coast guard are mainly found along the seas whereas they restrict their presence to mainly the riverine areas.[11]

Belize and U.S. soldiers working together
  • Belize Defence Force Band

The BDF Band was formed on 1 January 1978 from the former Belize Volunteer Guard Band, under the mastership of the late Warrant Officer Class 1, Walter P. Lamb. The band was originally formed in 1947 from the North Caribbean Force (Battalion of Belize) fundamentally as a Drum & Bugle Corps, at Mount Pleasant Creek, Central Farm in the Cayo District. In 1952, it added the brass section to the Drums & Bugles Corps that was the nucleus of what would evolve into the existing BDF Band.[10]

  • Three reserve companies

As of 2012, there are also 40 British Army personnel stationed in Belize.[3]

Special Operations Team

Belize Special Assignment Group (BSAG)

Is an elite unit of the B.D.F., tasked with undertaking high-risk operations which require specialized military skills and capabilities. Not much is known about the group, which is probably intentional, since it is designed to handle covert operations as well.[12]

Equipment

Infantry Weapons

The FN MAG machine gun
Name Origin Type Variant Notes
Small Arms
Browning Hi-Power Belgium Semi-automatic pistol FN35 Standard side arm[13][14]
Sterling machine gun[13] United Kingdom SMG L2A3
M4 carbine[13] United States Assault rifle M4A1
M16 rifle[13] United States Assault rifle M16A2
FN MAG[13] Belgium General-purpose rifle
FN Minimi[13] United States Light machine gun M249
M2 Browning United States Heavy machine gun Used on patrol boats[15][16][17]
Remington 700[18] United States Sniper rifle Bolt action rifle
Heavy Weapons
L16 mortar United Kingdom Mortar 6 units.[3]
Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle Sweden Recoilless rifle 6 units[3]

Vehicles

Name Origin Type Variant In Service Notes
Hino 500 Japan Truck
Ranger(5th generation)
13 donated by theUS[19][20]
Bedford M United Kingdom Truck
M-series 25
4-tons
26 Donated British BATSUB in 2013-17 and 2011-8+1 fuel tank truck. All 26 trucks older production.[21] [22][23][24]
Bedford TM United Kingdom Truck
TM-1
1 Donated British BATSUB in 2011-8. 1 unit from 1974-1986 production.[25] [26][27]
Utility vehicles
Jeep J8 United States Utility vehicle
J8
6 Donated USA 3 Jeep J-eight transport vehicles, 3 Jeep J-eight Patrol vehicles.[28]
Land Rover Defender United Kingdom Utility vehicle
110
2 Donated British BATSUB in 2011, 2 units.[29][30]
Ford F250 United States Utility truck
F250
10 Donated USA in 2020. Eight of the trucks were assigned to the Belize Defence Force and two to the Belize Coast Guard.[31][32]
Ford F450 United States Utility truck
F450
2 Donated USA in 2009. The trucks were assigned to the Belize Defence Force Special Boat Unit.[33]
Mahindra India Utility truck
Scorpio
10 Purchased by the Government of Belize and will be assigned to the Infantry Battalions of the BDF which are responsible for border patrols.[34]
Ambulance
Toyota Land Cruiser Japan Military ambulance
J70
2 Donated USA one ambulance to Belize Defence Force, second to the Belize Coast Guard.[35][36]
Jeep J8 United States Military ambulance
J8 Ambulance
1 Donated USA one Jeep J8 Ambulance.[37]
All-terrain vehicle
Polaris United States All-terrain vehicle
Renger 900
6 Donated British BATSUB in 2011.[38][39]

Boats

Class Photo Origin Type Boats In service Notes
Patrol
NOR-TECH  United States Fast patrol interceptor boat BDF 2 In 2009 US Government donate these patrol boats to the Belize Defence Force Special Boat Unit.

The boats are 43 foot NOR-TECH Interceptor Fast Patrol Boats.[40][41]

Seabee Belize Coast Guard and U.S. Navy Working Together.jpg  United States River patrol/reconnaissance BDF 8 Special boat unit are in charge of making sure that no illegal activities happen, occur within the country of Belize in the rivers and the coastline. Patrolling of the Sarstoon River and it's the transport of troops up to Cadenas and also at the mouth of the Sarstoon. USA donated 8 Seabee boats.[42][43][44]
Eduardoño-type  Colombia Belize Utility/transport BDF-03Sittee BDF-?Moho 2 [45]
 United States Patrol/interceptor BDF-04Hondo BDF-?Sarstoon 2 [46]

Aircraft

Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Transport
Britten-Norman United Kingdon utility BN-2 Islander 1[47]
Helicopters
Bell United States utility UH-1H Iroquois 1[47]

Facilities

References

Notes
  1. ^ "Brigadier General Azariel Loria Takes Command". channel5belize.com. Retrieved 5 January 2022.
  2. ^ https://www.sipri.org/databases/milex
  3. ^ a b c d IISS (2012), p. 374
  4. ^ "Belize". CIA World Factbook.
  5. ^ D.N.A. Fairweather, A Short History of the Volunteer Forces of British Honduras (now Belize)
  6. ^ a b Phillips, Dion E. (2002). "The Military of Belize". Archived from the original on 2012-12-11.
  7. ^ "Belize". Channel 5. 13 December 2007. Archived from the original on 2011-05-04.
  8. ^ "No Joke Jimmy,The Brits Are Back". 7 News Belize. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
  9. ^ a b c "Unit Info".
  10. ^ a b "The military of Belize".
  11. ^ "BDF Boat Unit Has To Contend With Riverine Border Safety".
  12. ^ "BSAG get new equipmemt and gear".
  13. ^ a b c d e f "Belizean Armed defense forces". armyrecognition.com. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
  14. ^ Cite web|url=https://bcg.gov.bz/
  15. ^ Cite web|url=https://bcg.gov.bz/
  16. ^ Cite web|url=https://lovefm.com/military-parade-held-belmopan/
  17. ^ Cite web|url=https://www.pressoffice.gov.bz/photos2/military-parade/military-parade42/#top_of_page
  18. ^ Cite web|url=https://bcg.gov.bz/belize-bcg-news/janes-overview-of-the-belize-coast-guard/
  19. ^ Cite web|url=https://bz.usembassy.gov/united-states-donates-vehicles-and-equipment-to-ministry-of-national-security-to-protect-border-security/
  20. ^ Cite web|url=https://www.facebook.com/BATSUBOfficial
  21. ^ Cite web|url=https://edition.channel5belize.com/archives/62969
  22. ^ Cite web|url=https://amandala.com.bz/news/batsub-donates-military-vehicles-bdf/
  23. ^ Cite web|url=https://www.facebook.com/BATSUBOfficial
  24. ^ Cite web|url=https://www.ambergristoday.com/content/stories/2013/july/22/volunteer-battalion-belize-defense-force-engages-annual-battle-camp
  25. ^ Cite web|url=https://edition.channel5belize.com/archives/62969
  26. ^ Cite web|url=https://amandala.com.bz/news/batsub-donates-military-vehicles-bdf/
  27. ^ Cite web|url=https://www.facebook.com/BATSUBOfficial
  28. ^ Cite web|url=https://edition.channel5belize.com/archives/92559
  29. ^ Cite web|url=https://amandala.com.bz/news/batsub-donates-military-vehicles-bdf/
  30. ^ Cite web|url=https://www.facebook.com/BATSUBOfficial
  31. ^ Cite web|url=https://bz.usembassy.gov/u-s-government-donates-counter-narcotics-equipment-belize-ministry-defence/
  32. ^ Cite web|url=https://www.sanpedrosun.com/government/2020/03/24/us-embassy-donates-heavy-duty-trucks-to-the-ministry-of-national-security/
  33. ^ Cite web|url=http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=14980
  34. ^ Cite web|url=https://www.sanpedrosun.com/politics-and-government/2012/11/03/bdf-receives-three-mahindra-vehicles-and-a-john-deere-tractor/
  35. ^ Cite web|url=https://bz.usembassy.gov/united-states-donates-vehicles-and-equipment-to-ministry-of-national-security-to-protect-border-security/
  36. ^ Cite web|url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/163605725@N03/albums/72157703337706322/
  37. ^ Cite web|url=https://edition.channel5belize.com/archives/92559
  38. ^ Cite web|url=https://www.facebook.com/BATSUBOfficial
  39. ^ Cite web|url=https://edition.channel5belize.com/archives/55365
  40. ^ "BDF Boat Unit Has To Contend With Riverine Border Safety".
  41. ^ {{cite web|title=http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=14980
  42. ^ "BDF Boat Unit Has To Contend With Riverine Border Safety".
  43. ^ {{cite web|title=https://ambergriscaye.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/459141/bdf-receives-8-seabee-reconnaissance-boats.html
  44. ^ Cite web|url=https://ambergriscaye.com/pages/town/130228.html
  45. ^ "BDF Boat Unit Has To Contend With Riverine Border Safety".
  46. ^ "BDF Boat Unit Has To Contend With Riverine Border Safety".
  47. ^ a b "World Air Forces 2022". Flightglobal Insight. 2022. Retrieved 5 January 2022.

External links

  • Belize Defence Force

Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook website https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/.