The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) was formed just a few days prior to Jamaica becoming a sovereign independent State within the Commonwealth of Nations. Although the Force itself is still young, it has a long history of descent and traditions stemming from units raised in the West Indies since the mid-seventeenth century.
The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) was formed on 31 July 1962 with the West India Regiment – disbanded just the day before – providing the nucleus. On formation, the Force comprised two regular units ‘Headquarters and Support Units’ (colloquially known as “Staff and Services”), and the First Battalion The Jamaica Regiment (1JR), as well as the Jamaica National Reserve, at that time comprising one infantry battalion.
The Third Battalion The Jamaica Regiment (3JR(NR)), which was formed in 1961 as the then sole component of the Jamaica National Reserve, became a part of the Jamaica Defence Force on 31 July 1962. Headquarters and Support Units comprised the Force Headquarters, the Garrison Administrative Unit, the Jamaica Military Stores Depot, the Jamaica Military Workshop, the Military Estates Office and the Jamaica Military Pay and Records Office. In 1963 the Jamaica Air Wing, the Jamaica Sea Squadron and the Force Engineer Unit (incorporating the Military Estates Office) were formed as sub-units of Headquarters and Support Units.
The Jamaica Military Band (the band of the original West India Regiment of 1795 which, following the Regiment’s disbanding, had been renamed ‘Jamaica Military Band’ in 1927 with semi-military status) had become a purely civilian unit in 1959 as a corporate body under the Ministry of Home Affairs. It now became a part of the Jamaica Defence Force with the advent of Independence in 1962.