Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force

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Military of Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force emblem.jpg
Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force emblem
Founded 1962
Service branches Trinidad and Tobago Regiment
Air Guard
Coast Guard
Reserves
Headquarters Defence Force Headquarters, Chaguaramas
Leadership
Commander-in-Chief Anthony Carmona
Minister of National Security The Hon. Gary Griffith
Chief of Defence Staff Major General Kenrick Maharaj
Manpower
Military age 18 (17 with parental consent)
Available for
military service
342,980, age 18–49 (2000 est.)
Fit for
military service
245,253, age 18–49 (2000 est.)
Reaching military
age annually
NA (2000 est.)
Active personnel 4,000
Expenditures
Percent of GDP 0.3%

The Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) is the military organisation responsible for the defence of the twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. It consists of the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment, the Coast Guard, the Air Guard and the Defence Force Reserves.

Established in 1962 after Trinidad and Tobago's independence from Britain, the TTDF is one of the largest Military forces in the English speaking Caribbean. Its mission statement is to "defend the sovereign good of The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, contribute to the development of the national community and support the State in the fulfillment of its national and international objectives".The Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force is made up of four distinct arms,The Regiment/Army, the Coast Guard, the Air Guard and the Defence Force Reserves, which all fall under the authority of the Ministry of National Security. The TTDF has the world's only Military steelband.

The Commander in Chief of the Defence Force is the country's President, Anthony Carmona. The current Chief of Defence Staff is Major General Kenrick Maharaj.

Regiment (Army)[edit]

Soldiers from the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force disembark a United States Air Force (USAF) C-130 cargo aircraft

The Trinidad and Tobago Regiment is the main ground force element of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force. It has approximately 2000 men and women organized into a Regiment Headquarters (located in Port of Spain) and four battalions. The regiment has two primary roles; Maintaining the internal security of Trinidad and Tobago and the assistance of local law enforcement.

Also, as one of the larger military forces in the region, the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment is also one of the main units used in peacekeeping and humanitarian situations from the Caribbean region

The Trinidad and Tobago Regiment also provides the bulk of the musicians assigned to the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra, the world's first and only military steel band.

Although it is called the Trinidad & Tobago Regiment, the TTR is in fact structured more like a light infantry brigade, with a pair of infantry battalions, plus engineering and logistic support units:

1st Battalion (Infantry), Trinidad and Tobago Regiment: This is the regular infantry battalion. It is located at Camp Ogden, Long Circular Road, St James.

2nd Battalion (Infantry), Trinidad and Tobago Regiment: This is also a regular infantry battalion. Formerly located at Camp Mausica, since then it has been relocated to the Chaguaramas Heliport and is due to be relocated to a new camp in Caroni.

3rd Battalion (Engineers): This provides engineering support. It is located at Camp Cumuto, Wallerfield.

4th battalion (Service and Support): This provides logistic and administrative support. It is located at the Teteron Barracks, Teteron Bay, Chaguaramas.

The Regiment also maintains a Camp Omega, also at Chaguaramas, which is used primarily for infantry training.

Air Guard[edit]

Air Guard badge
Air Guard roundel

The Air Wing of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence force was formed in February 1966, and was initially part of the Coast Guard and was called the Air Wing of the Coast Guard or the Air Wing. In 1977, it was separated as its own entity. In 2005 it was renamed the Trinidad & Tobago Air Guard (TTAG). Its bases are at Piarco International Airport, Crown Point International Airport, and the Heliport at Chaguaramas. Its purposes are to protect and patrol Trinidad and Tobago's airspace, and is also used for transport, search and rescue, and liaison. The current commander of the Air Guard is Group Captain Darryl Daniel. He has taken command of the unit in July 2014.

The current fleet of the Trinidad and Tobago Air Guard consists of:

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service Notes
Swearingen C-26B Metro  USA Maritime patrol 2 2000–present
AgustaWestland AW139  European Union Maritime patrol/SAR 4 2011–present

Its former fleet of aircraft included: One Cessna 337 (O-2A) Skymaster (1966–1972), One Cessna 402 Utililiner (1972–1998), four Aérospatiale Gazelle (1973–1995), One Cessna 172 Skyhawk (1991–1998), Two Piper Navajo 2000-2009, One Cessna 310 1985-2011

Aircraft ordered: Four (04) Agusta Westland AW139 Helicopters. Two (02) of the helicopters were delivered in May 2011, and the other Two in July 2012 . The helicopters will be used by the Trinidad & Tobago Air Guard for surveillance and reconnaissance missions related to search and rescue, border patrol and drug interdiction.

The Minister of National Security announced that the establishment of a military airfield, construction of an operations/administrative building at the Piarco Air Station and new helicopters would be purchased to equip the Air Guard. The minister also promised training from various international bodies. Cabinet agreed to the change of rank designations from naval to the corresponding aviation designations and the creation of 66 ranks on the establishment of the Air Guard. However even though it is separate TT Air guard still reports to Coast Guard officials.

National Security Operations Centre (NSOC)[edit]

The current fleet of the National Security Operations Centre consists of:

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service Notes
Eurocopter AS355  FRA Light transport helicopter 1
Sikorsky S-76  USA Light transport helicopter 1
MBB Bo 105  Germany Light transport helicopter 2

Coast Guard[edit]

Naval Ensign
Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard members during a practice exercise at Staubles Bay in Chaguaramas for the arrival of Prince Charles in 2008.

The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard is responsible for the maritime capabilities of the TTDF. The Coast Guard consists of a number of vessels designated CG<number>. The current Commanding Officer is Captain (N) Hayden Pritchard.

The Coast Guard planned to acquire three Offshore Patrol Vessels; The Port of Spain class corvette, which have been built by BAE Systems Surface Ships in the United Kingdom. However, in September 2010, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago announced it was cancelling the order.[1]

Its mission statements is to "To Defend the Sovereign Good of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and to provide on a continuous basis, quality service for security and safety within the Maritime Boundaries, and in any other area of responsibility agreed to by the State to fulfill its International Obligations".

The Coast Guard is primarily involved with the Drug Trade interdiction as well as Search and Rescue within the waters of Trinidad and Tobago and neighbouring Islands. However the Coast Guard has been involved in major incidents. During the 1970 Army Mutiny in Trinidad and Tobago, the Coast Guard prevented the mutineers from convoying to Port of Spain by firing on an access road from the Regiment base at Teteron Barracks in Chaguaramas.

National Roles of the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard include:

  • Surveillance of the Waters under T & T Jurisdiction
  • Logistical Support to T & T Land Forces
  • Port Security (ISPS Code)
  • Assistance in Scientific Research
  • Aid to Civil Law Enforcement
  • Anti-Smuggling / Counter-Narcotic Operations (MOF)
  • Fisheries Protection and Enforcement (MAL&MR)
  • Pollution Surveillance and Enforcement (MPU&E)
  • Safety of Shipping (MOW&T)

Operational Tasks

  • Keeping surveillance of the nation's off-shore installations
  • Environmental protection, minor salvage and local maritime surveys
  • Cooperating with other naval forces.

Defence Force Reserves[edit]

The Defence Force Reserves, previously called the Volunteer Defence Force, is the non active duty arm of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force. Its mission statement is "To be a highly professional, well trained combat ready force that will respond effectively in support of our regular forces and the national community". The Defence Force Reserves is capable of providing reinforcement and be a force multiplier in the event that the Defence Force is called upon to carry out its roles of aid to the civil power. Established in September 1963. Its primary purpose at that time was to provide essential reinforcements to the regular force. Today, those roles have grown to include assisting in the promotion of hemispheric and international security and development, with a well equipped force, trained in a broad range of disciplines and actively involved in community development.In recent years, the Reserves have been called out to assist with law enforcement and most recently to assist with the security in Trinidad's hosting the 5th Summit of the Americas in 2009.

References and links[edit]

  1. ^ Sibun, Jonathan (2010-10-06). "BAE faces £150m hit as Trinidad and Tobago cancels drug-busting patrol ship deal - Telegraph". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2010-10-06. 

External links[edit]