The 186 RCACS are set to celebrate their 75th Annual ceremonial review on June 2-3 with a parade and changing of command. File Photo
None of the members of the 186 Lloydminster Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron has enough whiskers to have lived during the founding year.
The 186 RCACS was formed on Oct. 30, 1942, and will mark its 75th annual ceremonial review June 2-3 with a parade and change of command on tap.
“It’s a fairly big event,” said Christopher Bird, a training instructor and the squadron liaison with Royal Canadian Legion Branch 39 in Lloydminster.
“It’s nice to have a 75th because a lot of the groups haven’t been around that long to amass that anniversary.”
Cadet historians may recall the first Commanding Officer of the squadron was also the first principal of E.S. Laird School, Eugene .S. Laird.
This year, current squadron CO, Capt. Holly Matias will hand over command to Capt. M.T Owens as part of the main review celebration on June 3 at the Lloydminster Exhibition Grounds.
“A number of alumni have been invited,” said Bird.
“Many attended the 70th and all of the ones who did will be invited as well as any of the other ones who expressed interest and were unable to make it to the 70th.”
The festivities will start at 1 p.m with a come and go tea at the Cadet Hall.
The public is welcome to attend the actual parade at 4 p.m. with tickets to an awards banquet at 6 p.m. selling for $30 an adult and $50 for couples with kids eight and younger free.
Bird will serve as the master of ceremonies for the parade portion of the schedule.
The anniversary schedule will kick off on June 2 with a screening of the movie Top Gun at the Cadet Hall with admission by donation with doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Don’t expect actor Tom Cruise to show up though.
“I don’t think you will be able to get ahold of him,” said Bird with a laugh.
There may, however, be some special guests and dignitaries at the parade and change of command to be announced later when the guest list firms up.
On any given parade night throughout the year, about 40 cadets aged 12-18 turn out.
The Cadet program is funded by the Department of National Defence in partnership with the civilian Navy League, Army Cadet League and Air Cadet League of Canada.
Bird attributes the attraction of 186 Lloydminster RCACS for youth over the years, to their interest in aviation.
“We have had a number of cadets go to to pursue aviation careers as well as just interest in Canadian Forces,” he said.
“Because they are air cadets, they get a taste of whether they are interested in joining the military.”
The air cadet program also aims to instill an interest in the aviation element of the Canadian Armed Forces.
As a career stepping stone, cadets can learn to fly gliders during the summer at instructional camps such as the Cadet Flying Training Centre in Gimli, Man.
“We make trips a couple of times a year to the gliding school at which point the younger ones go up for familiarization flights in the gliders,” said Bird.
“The more senior ones will take aviation courses.”
Air cadets is also about teaching youth to develop good citizenship and leadership.
“We did a bottle drive a couple of weekends ago,” said Bird.
“We help out the legion with their poppy campaign and just to develop the kids overall to help them with responsibility, discipline as well as learning how to interact and respect their peers.”