On May 25, Flight 37 of the 94 Newmarket Air Cadet Squadron will earn its wings, becoming 37 Bradford Orville Hand Air Cadet Squadron, a fully-fledged independent squadron located in Bradford West Gwillimbury.
Bradford's cadet program launched in September of last year, and will hold its first annual Parade and Awards at the Bradford and District Memorial Community Centre on May 25, flying its squadron banner and crest in public for the first time.
It’s a historic occasion - the first launch of a brand-new Air Cadet Squadron in “quite a while,” said Commanding Officer Maj. Stephen Case.
During its first year, Flight 37 was limited to 30 young men and women between the ages of 12 and 18. “Our goal for next year is to double that,” said Case. “The kids that are training this year are the leaders.”
The cadets have been meeting weekly at Fieldcrest Elementary School, to practice drills and prepare for the annual parade.
They have also participated in cadet activities - including the Air Cadet Activity Day and competition at Base Borden, on May 4. Because of their small number, the kids of 37 Flight partnered with 140 Squadron out of Aurora. The combined Bradford-Aurora team placed first overall, out of 19 squadrons, winning for Top Rifle Team and Top Spirit.
“All these well-established Air Cadet Squadrons, and we came in first!”
Among the dignitaries expected to attend the inaugural Parade are York-Simcoe MP Scot Davidson, York-Simcoe MPP Caroline Mulroney, Bradford West Gwillimbury Mayor and council, representatives of the Royal Canadian Air Cadet program, and Base Borden.
Reviewing officer will be Col. Pascal Godbout, Commander of 16 Wing Borden, responsible for overseeing Borden's air assets, the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Technology and Engineering, and RCAF Academy.
There issome pressure on the new cadets, to get things right on the big day, Case acknowledged. “Our Flag Party is just learning. They’re learning flag and rifle drill from scratch,” he said - but the cadets have come a long way from when they first started.
Guests are asked to take their seats in the old Bradford arena at 125 Simcoe Rd. by 12:45 p.m. on May 25. Parade begins at 1 p.m., with a Pipe Band, speeches, parade and drill, followed by a reception.
The Royal Canadian Legion Orville Hand Branch 521 is the sponsor of 37 Bradford Air Cadet Squadron, and has been instrumental, in providing support.
The annual Parade “is a chance to really show off how proud we are,” said Legion president Mike Giovanetti.
Coming up at the Legion:
This year marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the launch of the counter-offensive that finally brought the Second World War to a close in the European Theatre of Operations. The Bradford legion will be marking the occasion with a candlelight ceremony at the cenotaph, 115 Back St. in Bradford, on June 6 starting at 9 p.m. All are welcome to attend.