The Third Battalion The Jamaica Regiment (National Reserve) (3 JR (NR)) has a proud history. The history of 3 JR (NR) dates back to 1662. The Jamaica Militia, which was formed in 1662, existed for over 250 years until it was disbanded. In 1694 the National Reserve without any regular army or naval support repelled an invasion from a French force of over 1,400 soldiers. Thus, for most of the history of Jamaica the Reserves have been responsible for its protection both internally and externally. The name of the National Reserve has changed many times over the years. In 1914 the name was changed from the St Andrew Rifle Corps to Kingston Infantry Volunteers, and by 1939 to the Jamaica Infantry Volunteers. The Battalion was then called the First Battalion Jamaica Regiment (National Reserve) but was changed in 1963 to the Third Battalion The Jamaica Regiment (National Reserve).
The Infantry Reserve is located in four barracks across Jamaica: Curphey Barracks in Up Park Camp, Foster Barracks in Mandeville, Burke Barracks in Montego Bay, and Whitehorne Barracks in Port Maria. The Battalion headquarters is located in Up Park Camp. Headquarter, Alpha and Bravo companies are located at Up Park Camp.
Unlike the Regular Force, the Reserve is staffed by a Training Major, an Administrative Officer, a Quartermaster and several Permanent Staff Instructors (PSIs) from the Regular Force. 3 JR (NR) also has two Regimental Sergeants Majors, one from the Regular Force and one from the Reserve Force. The Coast Guard Reserve is located at the Coast Guard Headquarters in Port Royal, Kingston, and Air Wing Reserve is located at the JDF Air Wing at Up Park Camp.
The Third Battalion The Jamaica Regiment (National Reserve) has several roles and functions that continue to change as the needs of the Nation changes. The Reserve basic role is to support the Regular Force in its duties and also to perform important duties that are not performed often enough to justify standing forces. In terms of the support for the Regular Forces, there are 10 major tasks with which 3 JR (NR) assists when the need arises.
The Third Battalion stands ‘Always Ready’ to assist in the protection of the borders of Jamaica as it did in 1694. Internal Security operations have also occupied much of the taskings of 3 JR (NR). The unit has been called upon to provide suitable response aimed at restoring order in the case of insurgency and other internal security threats. This response is always in support of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). The Reserve has in the past assisted the Regular Force with disaster relief, recovery and reconstruction, as well as assisting other government agencies and departments in various support roles, including engineering, medical, air and maritime.
The Regular Forces has the responsibility to detect and identify aircraft and vessels within Jamaica’s airspace and maritime areas on a 24-hour basis, interdict vehicles involved in illegal activities and refugee movement, respond to oil spills and undertake resource protection tasks. The Reserve component of the Regular Force has assisted in several of these activities and tasks. The Reserve has been trained in the several counter terrorism activities which are designed to enable the Reserve Battalion to respond to terrorist threats and hence counter-terrorism is an activity in which Reserves could assist if called upon. The Coast Guard Reserve assists the regular Coast Guard in various Maritime, and Search and Rescue (SAR) operations.
The Regular Force is oftentimes tasked to assist other nations on a humanitarian basis. Whenever this is the case, the Reserve element must answer the call and undertake the activities of the normal Force until the standing forces return for regular duty. The Reserve has been involved in several regional and internal exchanges and training exercises such as Exercise Tradewinds. This has resulted in military interoperability between Jamaica and several other countries. The military band is located at 3 JR (NR) Curphey Barracks and this band performs several ceremonial duties. Most ceremonial duties necessitate infantry support which limits the internal security capability of the JDF. This is where the Reserve again rose to the occasion to provide support to the Regular Force so that internal security is not compromised.
Currently the Reserve Battalion is operating on a level that includes routine activities and the manning of outposts which result in the Reserve been called out for an extended period. These reservists are not operating in the strictest sense as reservists, however these duties have to be performed and as such these Reserve soldiers are very active in the normal day-to-day activities of the Jamaica Defence Force.
The Reserves currently has two components. One component is on ‘call out’, meaning they essentially act as a regular standing force, while the other ‘employed’ component only reports for duty at required times, including the two-week Annual Camp. It is during this time that several of the duties normally undertaken by the regular battalions are performed by the reserves.
3 JR (NR) stands ever ready to assist the Regular Force in the defence of this nation in whatever capacity required. The roles and functions change as the needs and threats change, but this does not deter the truly determined; it rather cements the resolve of the battalion that has repeatedly answered histories call to duty and as such the battalion will forever live up to its Motto ‘Always Ready’.