The commanding officer of 561 Nelson Osprey Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Cadets, received the first bar to his Canadian Decoration Wednesday while four members of the squadron were promoted and another received a long service medal.
The Canadian Decoration recognizes 12 years of service in the Canadian Armed Forces. Each bar recognizes a further 10 years of service. Capt. Gerry Rempel has now completed 22 years of service.
Rempel has been the commanding officer of Osprey Squadron for seven years. Previously, he was the commanding officer of 581 Castlegar Squadron.
Rempel is a member of the cadet instructor cadre branch of the Canadian Armed Forces. Members volunteer their time to help youth in their communities.
Three cadets were promoted from air cadet to leading air cadet: Matthew Bullen, Brayden Markin-Hellekson, and Cole Marshall. To be promoted to leading air cadet, they must have held the rank of air cadet for five months.
One cadet, Corey Defouw, was promoted from leading air cadet to corporal. To be promoted to corporal, a cadet must complete first year training and participate in the cadet fitness assessment.
Flight Sgt. Andrew Pfeffer received his Air Cadet League of Canada long service medal from Keith Kepke, Kootenay wing chair of the league’s BC provincial committee.
The 561 Nelson Osprey Squadron meets every Wednesday night during the school year and during the summer the cadets have the opportunity to attend summer courses at various training locations across Canada.
The Royal Canadian Air Cadets, in partnership with the Air Cadet League of Canada and the Department of National Defence has been training youth in Canada for over 70 years. The cadets are the largest government-funded youth program in Canada with over 50,000 participants across Canada.
The Royal Canadian Air Cadets accepts youth between the ages of 12 and 18 who have a desire to learn more about the air element of the Canadian Forces, wish to develop the attributes of leadership and good citizenship and wish to promote physical fitness.
While the program is military based, there is no obligation for a cadet to join the Canadian Armed Forces when he or she finishes their cadet career. Cadets are also encouraged to learn more about opportunities within Canada’s aviation industry.
Locally, there are Air Cadet Squadrons in Trail, Nelson, Castlegar and Grand Forks.