ESTEVAN — Estevan’s air cadets wrapped another year of training, education, discipline, camaraderie and fun by hosting their 82nd annual ceremonial review and awards parade at the Wylie-Mitchell Hall last Tuesday.
Officer commanding for the Central Prairie Region, Lieutenant-Commander Alan Cann, reviewed the No. 30 Wylie-Mitchell Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron on May 16 and was satisfied with the performance. Flight Sgt. Kelaiah Cinnamon was the parade commander.
The evening also saw the change of command ceremony. After 13 years, commanding officer Danielle Fleury decided to step down and will be taking on the training officer job. Connie Hagel, who used to be the training officer, was pronounced as the new commanding officer.
The change of command ceremony dates back to the 18th century, the times of Frederick the Great of Prussia, and represents a handover of authorities and responsibilities within a unit or command. The parties observed the transfer of responsibility through the passing of the squadron banner and also partook in the signing ceremony.
No. 30 Wylie-Mitchell Squadron parents committee chair Christina Farquhar, who was the MC for the evening, explained the history and symbolism behind each part of the change of command ceremony.
Three air cadets presented the speeches that they usually would prepare for the zone competition, which they were unable to compete in this year. Flight Sgt. Moksh Rabari spoke about electric vehicles, Flight Sgt. Kelaiah Cinnamon spoke about drones and Flight Cpl. Joelle Cinnamon touched on spaceships.
Outgoing commanding officer Fleury then addressed guests and cadets and spoke about the past year.
"We have had a lot of changes in the past year. This year was the first year since COVID that some of our cadets were able to experience the full extent of what the cadet program is all about. Our senior cadets saw a quick lesson on how to be a leader and were asked to just fly with it. They took the challenge that we threw at them, and the outcome has been a success," Fleury said.
She spoke about many activities and events cadets had a chance to experience throughout the year and the successes they had. She pointed out that the cadets were also honoured to carry the flags for Tankard and Scotties provincial curling tournaments in Estevan this year.
"The cadets thought it was really neat to see themselves on the big screen and be a part of such big community events," Fleury shared.
She also looked back at her years as a commanding officer with the Wylie-Mitchell squadron.
"Through my time as commanding officer, I've learned so many new skills and have met so many amazing cadets. Some of these cadets have become pilots for air ambulances, aircraft maintenance specialists, mechanics, engineers, moms, dads, managers of companies and so many great things. It's very rewarding to know that I had a part in helping them develop their leadership and speaking skills,” said Fleury.
“Thank you to all the cadets, the parents, squadron sponsor, committee members, and of course, all the staff that I've been able to work so closely with these past years.”
Fleury was recognized with a Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Award for her volunteer work in the community last November.
New commanding officer Hagel also addressed the crowd. She thanked Fleury for her work and outlined many great things she's done for the local organization and its members.
"You're an inspiration to me. You're the commanding officer that I want to be," Hagel said.
Reviewing officer Cann, in his address, noted that it was his first review of the local squadron since he assumed the role of officer commanding for Central Prairie Region. He praised the Wylie-Mitchell Hall and said that "it's a tremendous asset to the community … and squadron".
He complimented Fleury's work, noting that she had one of the longest terms in the province, and welcomed Hagel into the role. He also encouraged the cadets to stay active in the program and help shape it going into the future, as it has a lot to give to young people.
"I have seen a lot of cadet corps and squadrons. The last three years have been tremendously difficult on the cadet program. And I looked at you tonight, I looked at your parade, how well you turned out, how sharp your uniforms are, and how meticulous you've taken the job, the task of being a cadet and producing a great parade. And I want to congratulate you on it, you are among the top 10 in this province from all parades that I've seen," Cann said.
Last but not least was the awards ceremony. Flight Sgt. Rabari received the Top Overall Cadet and Drill and Deportment Awards, as well as the Lord Strathcona Medal. Flight Cpl. Kelaiah Cinnamon was recognized as Top Cadet Overall, Top Female Shot and Best Dressed Overall. Top Third Year Cadet and Best Dressed in Ranks Awards went to Flight Cpl. Joelle Cinnamon.
Other award recipients were, Top First Year Cadets – Leading Air Cadets (LAC) Lucas Schott and Joshua Kienlen; Top Second Year Male Cadet – Cpl. Kashton Farnsworth; Top Male Shot - Flight Cpl. Allan Wagner; Most Improved Cadet - Flight Corporal Isabelle McQuoid; Top Second Year Female Cadet – Cpl. Jenna Fleury; and The Esprit de Corps Award - Flight Corporal Paxton Beam.
Cadets who have advanced to the next level of training by meeting all the criteria were also recognized during the night.
Flight Sgts. Cinnamon, Leigh, Rabari and Zinchuk moved from Level 5 into level 6. Flight Cpl. Beaulieu and Sgt. Byelykh moved from level 4 into level 5. Flight Cpls. Beam, Cinnamon and Wagner, and Cpl. McQuoid moved from level 3 into level 4. Cpls. Farnsworth, Fleury, Koziuchenko, Plishka-Isley, Salmasan and Vollbrecht, and LAC E. McQuoid moved from level 2 into level 3. LACs Abtosway, Barbour, Burlassa, Kienlen, Patel, Pick, Schott, Howard, Larrivee, and ACs Thompson, J. McCaskill and McCaskill moved from level 1 into level 2.
Cadets also received attendance awards. Level 1 attendance awards recipients were LACs Abtosway, Barbour, Burlassa, Kienlen, Patel, Pick, Schott, Howard, Larrivee and Thompson. Level 2 attendance recipients were Cpls. Farnsworth, Fleury, Plishka-Isley, Salmasan and Vollbrecht. Level 3 attendance recipients were Flight Cpls. Cinnamon and Beam and LAC McQuoid. Level 4 attendance recipient was Sgt. Byelykh. Level 5 attendance awards qualified recipients were Flight Sgts. Cinnamon, Leigh and Rabari.