What Was the PRA, PRAF and PRM?
The People's Revolutionary Army (PRA), the People's Revolutionary Militia (PRM) and the Revolutionary Military Council (RMC) were military organizations active in different periods of the Grenada Revolution. The People's Revolutionary Armed Forces (PRAF) was the short-name/umbrella identifier for the group which included the People's Revolutionary Army, the People's Militia, the Grenada Police Service & the Prison Service with the Security Service at close hand.
The flag and/or armband above was born out of necessity. Later, the symbol of a red circle on white became known as the Flag of the Revolution, and was flown on military and militia facilities. On 13 March 1979, the day Gairy's forces were overcome, a means for immediate identification of revolutionaries was needed. The symbol was bright and easy to make with white cloth and red paint. An amount of these armbands were prepared ahead of 13 March 1979, and subsequently, people made up their own. Accounts are that later this flag became a mark of an Officer Cadet (OC) in the PRA, and other accounts add it for Inspector of Police. The flag/armband had nothing to do with the national symbol of Japan, but more akin to the Red Cross symbol. Defenders of this flag point out the red circle is much larger in the PRA flag than the Japanese flag. Other accounts say this flag fell out of use as a result of complaints from Japan.
The 12 Apostles; or The National Liberation Army (NLA)
First, let us start with the undocumented The 12 Apostles or The National Liberation Army (NLA). The naming of the group of early organizers may have been facetious, but the mission was a grave one. A large number of the first military units were filled with Rastamen. The role of the military arm occurred in the early days of 1979. Some of the 12 Apostles or members of the NLA had received secret military training in Guyana for the takeover maneuver. Whether those on the list below were the actual 12 Apostles or members of the NLA, these were the military-trained people organized for the overthrow of the Gairy regime.
St. Bernard, Ian
The People's Revolutionary Army (PRA)
The People's Revolutionary Army (PRA) was considered "sword and shield" of the NJM Party. The PRA had various camps and centers around the island - Camp Richardson, Camp Mitchell, Camp Villa, Camp Calivigny-Camp Fedon, Camp Williams, Camp Butler, Camp Blunt, Camp Boney, Camp Carriacou, Pearls Airport Camp, Grand Etang Lake Training Camp, Fort Rupert, Mount Royal, Camp Allister-Fort Frederick. Some camps were temporary and/or relocated. Some of the locations had detention facilities in addition to Richmond Hill Prison.
The size of the People's Revolutionary Army - A Snapshot from September 1980:
Approximately 305 soldiers in the Combative section, including Carriacou, Service (garage included) and Administration.
Approximately 145 soldiers in the Guard Company
Abroad on courses - 39
The People's Revolutionary Armed Forces (PRAF)
Later, the combination of the PRA and PRM was termed the People's Revolutionary Armed Forces (PRAF), an approximate force of 2,000 - 3,000 men and women, including approximately 17 full Party members.
Oath of a Recruit
The People's Revolutionary Militia (PRM)
Photo, The Resource Center
The public was encouraged to join the Militia. The sign above exemplified this. The Norman Antoine Training School was a militia institution. There was St. Paul's Militia Camp, a St. David's Militia Camp, a Sauteurs Militia Camp in St. Patrick's, among others [Mt. Rose Militia Camp was abandoned), and miliitia training at Camp Boney.
In the poster below, most likely produced during the days of the October tragedy, the message was like a desperate cry.
Appreciation to John Douglas for this photo
13 October 1983 Resolution of the People's Revolutionary Army