Thirty-five army cadets along with six Canadian Forces members from across Canada graduated from the Canadian Forces (CF) Basic Parachutist Course, held at the Canadian Army Advanced Warfare Centre (CAAWC), in Trenton, Ont.
“The candidates for the course were selected after a gruelling process where only a select few were chosen,” said Lieut. Terri-Leigh Saunders, public affairs officer.
Select few would be an understatement. According to the Canadian Cadet Organization Website, there are 52, 890 cadets across Canada, of which 18,920 are army cadets. Thirty-five cadets succeeded, three from B.C.
One of the Cadets to successfully complete this elite CF course was Warrant Officer Hugh Park of 1726 Canadian Scottish Regiment Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps, from the Comox Valley.
“Earning my ‘Jump Wings’ would have to be one the toughest and most rewarding achievements of my entire time in cadets,” stated Park.
“When I joined Cadets in January 2007, just a few days after I turned 12, I never dreamed it could lead to this. Initially I joined Air Cadets because my older brother and sister were both Air Cadets and really enjoyed it, but I later switched to the 1726 Army Cadets because they offered more opportunities for outdoor travel and adventure, and boy have I gotten my share of exciting experiences.
“Two years ago I spent the summer kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and mountaineering with the army cadets in the Rocky Mountains. Last year I went to Great Britain on an army cadet exchange program for the summer to train with various British regiments and tour around. I have also been on various expeditions that included everything from ocean kayaking to camping on glaciers.
“I have learned a lot, not just from those experiences but also from the training. The army cadet organization leaves very little to chance. We are given plenty of first-aid, orienteering/map reading, search and rescue, and leadership training.”
All that training helped prepare WO Park for the parachute course, but it still wasn’t easy. To graduate, each candidate must complete five jumps, each more demanding then the last. The first jump is during the day with just your parachute, and then more gear is added until the fifth jump, which is done at night.
1726 Canadian Scottish Regiment, Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps, is recruiting new members. If you are between 12 and 18 years old and looking for a challenge and an opportunity to learn some new skills, perhaps Army Cadets is the place for you.
Call 250-339-8211, ext. 7995, and leave a message for more information.
— Canadian Army Advanced Warfare Centre