New Colonel to take command of Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force

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Colonel Telbert Benjamin will become the new head of the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force (ABDF) due to the retirement of Colonel Sir Trevor Thomas on March 20.

The outgoing Chief of Defence Staff, Sir Trevor, has served the ABDF for more than 40 years, rising through the ranks to Chief of Defence Staff, a position he held for 30 years.

The incoming Chief of Defence Staff, Colonel Benjamin enlisted in the ABDF in 1995 and has held numerous appointments to include Platoon Commander 1997 to 2002; Tactical Advisor to the Commissioner of Police for Cricket World Cup 2007 from 2006 to 2007; Company Commander from 2007 to 2009; Staff Officer Operations and Training in the Force Head Quarters from 2009 to 2019; and Commanding Officer 1st Battalion Antigua Barbuda Regiment from 2019 to 2020.

In addition to the appointments mentioned, he was the liaison officer to the Conference of the Armies of the Americas (CAA) from 2010 to 2017 and Liaison Officer to the Conference of Defence Ministers of the Americas from 2013 to 2017.

Colonel Benjamin has also been a member of the directing staff of the Regional Security System Staff and Command course, eventually rising to the post of Academic Director.

The Change of Command Parade, which will be held at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground on March 20, is the first of its kind in the history of the ABDF.

The Antigua Defence Force (ADF) was established in 1897 and consisted of one company of Infantry and one company of mounted Cavalry. Most males between the ages of 18 and 45 who earned more than 50 British pounds annually, were required to serve.

In 1914, the Force was put on active service due to the commencement of the 1st World War.

During the period of the 2nd World War, the ADF became part of the Leeward Islands Battalion and, towards the end of 1943, ADF members were deployed to Europe as part of the 1st Battalion, The Caribbean Regiment, and returned in 1946.

The ADF was disbanded in 1952, as it had no headquarters, and was reactivated in 1956 under the command of Captain E M Blackman.

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