An army veteran who has received the military’s second highest decoration for leading a team into the fire at Her Majesty’s Prison Glendairy during the notorious 2005 uprising said he merely wanted to look after his men.
“I just wanted to make sure that my men were always safe…but in addition to that, we wanted to serve,” said Lieutenant Commander John Euclide Mapp, the recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM). He was honoured during the Barbados Defence Force’s Presentation of Medals Ceremony at St Ann’s Fort on Friday morning.
“I am grateful and humbled by the honour that has been bestowed upon me by the Barbados Defence Force. I was proud and privileged to serve at Glendairy in 2005 when I took a security team and a firefighting team to perform and rescue as well.”
Lt Cmdr Mapp was reluctant to go into detail about the ordeal, he recalled briefly his experience of March 29, 2005.
“When we reported to Glendairy on the morning in question… my main concern was for the safety of my men because of the situation, the volatile situation that we were going into,” he said.
Well over a decade later, the now retired veteran commander of almost 35 years continues to work with the military.
He also defended the force amid questions about its role in the 21st Century, echoing a similar defence by Attorney General Dale Marshall.
“The Barbados Defence Force is a necessity in this country…. I know as time goes on you will always need the Barbados Defence Force, whether it is local operations, assisting the region or further afield.
“The good thing about the members of the Barbados Defence Force is that they have been trained locally, regionally and internationally as well, so they bring a lot of experience and knowledge to whatever situation they’re exposed,” he said.
When asked whether he feels Barbados’ military is underappreciated, Lt Cmdr Mapp would only smile as he replied: “Barbadians eventually will embrace the fact that they have a very strong force…. We are always appreciated by our fellow soldiers in different countries; and we always give of our best, no matter what.”