After 8 months of hard work, the thirty young Air Cadets of 37 Flight were ready – not only for their inaugural Cadet Parade and Review, but for the launch of the 37 Bradford Orville Hand Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron.
For the first year, the 30 boys and girls, all between the ages of 12 and 19, trained as a Flight of 94 Newmarket Air Cadet Squadron, which provided volunteers to help drill the new Cadets, under Commanding Officer Major Stephen Case.
On May 25, on Parade at the old Bradford arena on Simcoe Road and in front of an audience that included members of the sponsoring Bradford Legion Br. 521, Officers and Staff of 37 Squadron and 94 Newmarket, parents and visiting dignitaries and guests, the Cadets showed what they had learned.
“Congratulations on your achievements. Your community is very proud of you,” Mayor Rob Keffer told the young men and women.
As the 94 Squadron Pipes and Drums played, the new Air Cadets and Flag Party marched into the arena, and formed up, waiting for the Review.
Reviewing Officer was 16 Wing Commander at Base Borden, Col. Pascal Godbout – who oversees the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Technology and Engineering, RCAF Academy, and Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Control Operations.
Col. Godbout, accompanied by Major Case and other dignitaries, walked through the ranks.He stopped to chat with cadets and officers, then took the salute, as the Cadets marched off.
“Congratulations on your First Annual Review. All the cadets did a fantastic job,” said Col. Godbout.
He praised the Air Cadet program. “We are forming model citizens, actively engaged in our communities. We are promoting leadership,” he said, adding, “I never cease to be amazed at the raw potential… of our Canadian Youth.”
Col. Godbout noted that “the Cadet movement gave me opportunities I never would have had,” from making new friends to participating in summer camps, optional training sessions, and glider and power scholarships.
“Challenge yourself. Step out of your comfort zone. The skills you are going to learn will serve you the rest of your lives,” he told the cadets. “You are the ambassadors for this program, and Canada. Wear your uniform proudly.”
Godbout urged the cadets to aim for the stars, noting that three of Canada’s astronauts, including Commander Chris Hadfield, are former Air Cadets. “When I say aim for the stars, I mean literally!”
“I got my pilot’s licence when I was 16 years old,” MP for York-Simcoe Scot Davidson said, when invited to speak. “I know how challenging it’s going to be.”
The MP presented a donation of $250 on behalf of the Sutton Legion – and a die-cast model of an F-18 fighter jet, that he had treasured for years. “It’s going to a better use in Bradford, than on my desk (in Ottawa),” Davidson said.
Other speakers included MPP Caroline Mulroney, who spoke of the level of support in Bradford for the fledgling squadron. “It really was the community that came together, to bring the Squadron here,” she said. “I salute you.”
Mayor Keffer told the cadets that the friendships they build and the skills they learn “will serve you well throughout your lives.” He explained that the Squadron was named for Orville Hand, World War II veteran, volunteer firefighter, and co-founder of the Bradford Legion, who remained active until his death in 2009, in his 91st year.
There were a number of awards and honours presented, following the parade. “All of our cadets have performed exceptionally,” said Capt. J-P Johnson, 37 Bradford Squadron, but several were recognized for outstanding achievement.
Volunteer Award – LAC Noah Sellers.
Top Squadron Fundraising Award – LAC Owen Lock, LAC Charlotte Lotter
Athletics Award – LAC Gavin O’Leary
Marksmanship – Cpl. Trinity Evans
Aviation Award – Cpl. Joseph Sun
Squadron Spirit Award – LAC Nathan Weir
Top Instructor – Sgt. T. Jin
Best First-Year Cadet – LAC Noah Sellers
Jr. Leadership – FCpl. A. Sulima
Sr. Leadership – Sgt. T. Jin
Commanding Officer’s Award – Sgt. William Haag
Legion Medal of Excellence – Sgt. William Haag
“We said, lend us your kids for a year, and we’re going to do something fantastic,” said CO Major Case, thanking the parents, Squadron staff, the Legion and the community, for their support. “It’s been really, really exciting.”
And, he said, “I’ve never been as proud as I am of the 30 kids we have this year… You guys have exceeded my expectations.”
The 37 Bradford Orville Hand Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron will take a break for the summer, although Cadets can participate in summer camps and training programs. Regular drill begins again in September, when the Squadron will be looking for young people between the ages of 12 and 19, to sign up for Air Cadets.
For information see bradfordaircadets.ca.