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Gdf military tattoo thrills large crowd at ayanganna

….parachute jumps, a mock battle, and splendid fireworks all make for an unforgettable show
THE faint droning of a Britten Norman Islander aircraft quickened anticipation among the crowd that converged on the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Base Camp Ayanganna playfield and on Vlissengen Road on the outskirts of the Army playfield, at Thomas Lands Wednesday evening.

Commander–in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Bharrat Jagdeo, flanked by Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and Second-in-Command of the GDF, Colonel Bruce Lovell, at the Military Tattoo hosted by the Army on Wednesday, at the Base Camp Ayanganna playfield. Also in picture are Ms Gail Texeira, Advisor to the President on Governance ( left, forefront) and (at right) Agriculture Minister, Robert Persaud; Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr Frank Anthony and Public Service Minister, Dr Jennifer Westford

And, as the sound became louder, all looked up as seven paratroopers of the 31 Special Forces Squadron of the GDF and the Brazilian Army, who had jumped from the aircraft at 12000 feet came down in colourful parachutes.
The occasion was the Fourth Military Tattoo organized by the GDF, and coordinated by veteran jump-master, Lieutenant Colonel Enoch Gaskin, as part of the army’s activities to celebrate its 45th anniversary.
In addition to the sky dive display, other events were a presentation by the GDF military band, a martial arts display, precision or `Silent’ drills, a simulated battle and fireworks which brought an end to the programme.
Among those on hand at the tattoo were Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Bharrat Jagdeo; Prime Minister Samuel Hinds; other ministers of Government; Chief-Of-Staff of the GDF, Commodore Gary Best; and second-in-command, Colonel Bruce Lovell.
There was an evident lull as each of 16 highly skilled parachutists executed a free fall before opening their parachutes to enthusiastic applause.
The first seven jumpers exited the Britten Norman Islander at a height of 9, 000 feet and free fall to 4,000 feet before opening their chutes, while the remaining nine jumped from a Black Hawk helicopter at 12,000 ft and also free fall to 4,000 feet before opening theirs.

The steal of the event, however, was the `Tandem Jump’ executed by the Brazilian Military Attache, Colonel Antonio Leite Dos Santos Filho. It was not until the parachute was within clear sight that two persons were observed coming down,
The other paratroopers who participated included Captain Howall, Warrant Officer (WO) Milo, Staff/Sergeant (S/Sgt) Debideen and Corporal Smith from the GDF; and from the Brazilian Army, Col. Chrispim, Col. Marcel, Col. Vasconcellos, Major Alexandre, Captain Neilson, Captain Sentone, First Lieutenant Puiatti, Warrant Officer Branco, First Sergeants Hilton and Constantine and S/Sgt Cristiano.
Corporal Smith was credited as the first parachutist to land. Col. Gaskin carried the Guyana Standard, the Golden Arrowhead, affixed to his body, and it fluttered proudly as he made his descent; Warrant Officer Milo carried the GDF flag and Col. Crispim the Brazilian flag.
All of the jumps were uneventful, and upon completion, Col. Gaskin presented the Golden Arrowhead to Commodore Best, who was also presented with a token on behalf of the Brazilian Army by Col. Chrispim.
And Col. Gaskin pinned `Guyana Wings’ on the members of the Brazilian Army, making them Honorary Guyanese Paratroopers.


As explained by Major Lorraine Foster and Captain Paul Dalgetty of the GDF, who presented the commentary for the occasion, “Tattoo” is the traditional signal given originally by drum beat and latterly by bugle call. This signal warned soldiers to return to their quarters for the night. In garrison towns, innkeepers turned off the liquor taps and the drum continued to beat for half an hour, the time allowed for the soldiers to find their way home.
However, the custom eventually developed into a ceremonial performance of military music by massed bands, a few hours after sunset.

After the First World war, the ceremony of Tattoo was developed to include the military displays with which the name is now associated, but which have no connection, apart from the music, with the original function of the ceremony.
The first military tattoo in then British Guiana was held at Eve Leary in 1920 by the British Guiana Militia. The performance included personnel from the Infantry, Artillery and school children. The second tattoo was held in 1963 on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of the Guyana Volunteer Force.
The tradition of hosting military tattoos was continued by the Guyana Defence Force, and in 1972 a tattoo was organized as part of the anniversary celebrations.
Brazilian Military Attache Colonel Antonio Leite Dos Santos Filho with another paratrooper executing the tandem jump     
Other tattoos were successfully held on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary in 1985, 30th Anniversary in 1995, and 40th Anniversary in 2005. All of the events were held on the playfield at Camp Ayanganna.
With shouts of Kill, Kill, Kill, a platoon of recruits from the Basic Recruit Course (BRC) dressed in green slacks and white tops, ran onto the field to showcase their skill at Wu Shu style Martial Arts moves choreographed by Sergeant Wilfred Semple and assisted by Sergeant Craig and Corporal Venture.

Later, attired in ceremonial dress of  white tunics, green skirts with red stripes, green berets, red lanyards, highly polished black shoes and white gloves, a contingent from the Women’s Army Corps (WACS) marched onto the playfield to resounding applause to execute the `Silent Drills ‘.
This display entailed the female soldiers executing drill moves in cohesion without the sound of word of command.
Coordinated by S/SGT Pte Richmond, the female soldiers were under the command of Midshipman Shennel Europe.


The mock battle which evoked much laughter, even as gunfire resounded in the air, saw troops from 1Infantry Battalion of the GDF assisting the members of the Guyana Police Force in apprehending wanted narco-traffickers.
The display by the Military Band provided more entertainment for the public, when Drum Major Corporal London enacted a `Late for Work’ scene hurrying to put on ceremonial dress for an engagement.
Bringing the curtain down on the Military Tattoo was a splendid fireworks display, a fitting finale to the events of the evening.