The Jamaica Combined Cadet Force is a youth movement with a difference. The difference being that it is a disciplined organization with a rank structure. Working within this environment the youths are given a feeling of stability and purpose. The training is based upon military skills but the aim is not to produce a highly trained soldier. The aim of all the training is carefully planned so that it appeals in the first place as a challenge; secondly it is designed to develop the powers of leadership and qualities of character valuable alike to the civilian and soldier.
The Jamaica Combined Cadet Force provides one of the most stimulating and challenging experience for both young people and adult instructors alike. It's all about achievement, adventure and not accepting second best!
In a world where mediocrity and lack of competition prevail, the JCCF offers both young people and their leaders the chance to break the mould in a safe and controlled yet action-packed environment.
The Cadet Force came into being on 1st November, 1943, and was then known as the Army and Air Cadet Force. The first Commandant was Colonel (then Major) Michael Ralph DeCordova, M.B.E.,who evolved the organization, rules and regulations and also designed its badge. At the end of 1943, sixteen (16) Cadet Units were formed in Secondary and Technical schools.
The fifth and tenth anniversaries of the Force were celebrated by special parades held at Knutsford Park (now New Kingston) in 1948 and Up Park Camp in 1953. The Force Standard, donated by parents of Cadets and Ex-cadet, was presented at the Tenth Anniversary Parade on November 26, 1953 .
On April 12, 1954, the Force received a great honour. The Mayor and Corporation of Kingston awarded it the Freedom of the City and its symbolic "Key". Advantage is occasionally taken of this high privilege and the force marches through Kingston with fixed bayonets.
From as early as 1944, efforts were made to start an exchange of Cadets between Canada and Jamaica. From 1962 to 1972 the annual camp was at an international level, attended by officers and cadets from Canada and, from other Caribbean territories with air cadets from the United States participating on one occasion. A group from Jamaica attended the camp of these countries in exchange. This was possible through co-operation of the Canadian authorities and the Royal Canadian Air Force. On one occasion the Jamaican Defence Force Air Wing flew five (5) cadets to the Southern Caribbean.
Col DeCordova relinquished command in 1963 and was succeeded by Lt. Col W. R. Goldsworthy. The rank of Honorary Colonel (of the Cadet Force) was bestowed on Col DeCordova and in 1966 he received the honour of C.B.E. (Commander of the British Empire) from Her Majesty the Queen. Lt. Col Goldsworthy resigned in 1964 because of ill-health and was succeeded by Lt. Col A. N. C. Ince JP, who left Jamaica for several years and was succeeded by Lt. Col M. K Nunes.
Lt Col Nunes became the fourth (4th) Commandant of the Force in 1969 and relinquished command on November 25, 1991. He was succeeded by Col S B Francis the Fifth (5th) Commandant of the Force. Col Francis relinquished command on January 30, 1999 and is succeeded by Col Lemuel Augustus Lindo the sixth (6th) Commandant. Col Lemuel Lindo demitted office on the 10 August 2016 and is succeeded by Col Errol V Johnson, the seventh (7th) Commandant.
With the introduction of Seamanship training, the Force's name was changed to the Jamaica Combined Cadet Force in 1967.
Originally, the Force was under the control of the Ministry of Education, but was transferred to the Ministry of Defence on the request of the then Prime Minister, The Honourable Alexander BUSTAMANTE, who had always displayed a keen interest in the Cadet movement. When the office of the Prime Minister became a separate Ministry, the responsibility for the Cadet Force was transferred to the Ministry. Presently we are the responsibility of the Ministry of National Security and Justice, Defence Branch.
The JCCF now consists of a moderate headquarters staff, sixty (60) post-primary schools. On September 17, 1988 HQ JCCF was relocated at the southern end of Up Park Camp, (De Cordova Barracks, named after its founder). The official opening was on December 10, 1988 by the then Governor General Sir Florizel Glasspole.
In 1975, the Force was presented with a Cessna - 150 Aircraft registration number 6Y - JJK by Air Jamaica. It is decorated in the colours of Air Jamaica and has the JCCF Crest painted on its tail fin. This acquisition has made the training of Cadets in aviation easier. On July 12, 1980, girls in Co-Ed Schools were permitted to join units at their schools. On the 14th February, 1983, the Force provided a Guard of Honour at The National Stadium on the occasion of the visit of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh. In 1985, the Force was presented with a Yacht, S/V China, to conduct Sea Training.