On June 1, as the 60th annual ceremonial review (ACR) of the 589 Royal Canadian Air Cadets squadron of Carbonear began, Flight Sgt. Daniel Curran announced role call.
With confidence, all cadet members in attendance at Carbonear Collegiate responded loudly, “Flight sergeant,” as their name was called.
It was fitting that Curran opened the review, since he was also the last cadet to receive an award for the afternoon, the prestigious Lord Strathcona medal.
The Lord Strathcona is the highest honour that can be bestowed upon a Canadian cadet, and one that was a surprise for Curran.
“I applied (for the award), but I didn’t expect it,” Curran, who is just finishing Level II, told The Compass after the ACR was over.
Curran plans on returning to his last year of cadets next year, and hopes to get promoted to Warrant Officer. But he also hopes his training will take him to the Canadian Forces.
“I want to join the reserves,” he explained.
The second highest honour went to third year cadet, Flight Cpl. Gregory Short.
Short, who plays the Glockenspiel in the squadron’s 12-member band and eight-member drill team, was honoured with the Legion’s Medal of Excellence. He told The Compass he will be returning to cadets next year.
Hope for more members
There has been a decline in registration over the past few years, but this year follows the previous year with one of the lowest numbers on parade, 20 cadets. There are 22 registered in the local squadron, but two were unavailable.
For years, the squadron had at least 35 members. Although the cause of the decline is unknown, there has been speculation by some of those involved that there is too much competition, including hockey, basketball and dance.
Many of these activities conflict with the time of 589’s weekly Monday meetings.
The officers hope to revive interest over the summer, and hope for a larger turn out in September.
Bad weather limits activities
The organization has often aided in helping members participate in flight activities, including gliding and flying in a single-engine plane.
The 2013-14 season was difficult for the squadron to participate in these activities due to bad weather.
Bret Pilgrim, who is a 2nd Lt. officer with the squadron, explained, although the cadets didn’t get to participate this year, they did have several outings planned, but had to cancel. Those cadets will either have to take part in whatever activities are offered at camp this summer, if they are accepted and decide to go, or wait until next year.
The activities cadets are able to take part in can open doors of opportunity throughout the program.
Warrant Officer Second Class Kelland Mercer of Bay Roberts was accepted to flight school in Gander after spending years in air cadets. He was unable to attend the ACR because he was training in Gander.
Both the band and the drill team gave demonstrations of what they have been practicing throughout the year.
The big surprise was two rookie cadets picking up the snare drum in January, and keeping up with the rest of the band.
Leading Air Cadets Collin Rossiter and Maxwell Barrett, both first years, picked up the instruments really quickly, said Pilgrim.
There was a shortage of drummers in the band, and the two boys filled the gap. Other band members said they hoped Rossiter and Barrett would return next year.
The Drill team consisted of eight members, with Warrant Officer Second Class Alyssa Broomfield giving commands for the first half of the performance.
During the second half, Broomfield joined the group, where they completed synchronized movements that they previously memorized.
The group, although unsure they would put it all together, had a successful ACR, with many of them saying they were already looking forward to the 2014-15 cadet season.
A complete list of award winners will be posted when available.