Several dozen dignitaries and guests were on hand at Desert Sands Community School in Ashcroft on June 9 for the 16th annual Ceremonial Review for Royal Canadian Sea Cadets Corps 347 Avenger.
347 Avenger — which was established in Ashcroft in 2002 — has gone from seven members in September 2018 to 21 members as of May 2019, and several of the people who addressed the assemblage praised Royal Canadian Legion Branch #113 (Ashcroft), which last year stepped up to help revive 347 Avenger.
“Thank you to the Legion, to the support from the community, and to our staff,” said Commanding Officer Lt. (N) Darrin Curran. “And to the cadets: congratulations to all of you on a great training year, and for all you put into the program. I love your dedication and hard work.”
RCMP Staff Sgt. J.R. Wessel, who was the Reviewing Officer, said that he was very impressed by what he had seen. Wessel—who was at one time the detachment commander in Lytton—noted that “I’ve been in a lot of small communities. It’s great to see this level of support, and the kids were very impressive. Keep it up.”
Capt. Keri Winkelaar, Zone Training Officer for the Regional Cadet Support Unit, also thanked staff, parents, and all who supported the cadets. To the cadets themselves she said “Thank you. I can tell you’ve put in a lot of work. Keep up that good work.”
Pat Fitzgerald, the outgoing Ashcroft Navy League representative, also congratulated the cadets and their parents, and gave a special shout-out to Gerry Sask: “He was instrumental in starting 347 Avenger.”
Members of the Ladies Auxiliary to RCL Branch #113 and the Ashcroft and District Lions Club presented donations to 347 Avenger, to assist the cadets in their fundraising efforts for a trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia in May 2020 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic. You can follow 347 Avenger, and find out about their fundraising efforts, via their Facebook page (Ashcroft Sea Cadets – 347 RCSCC Avenger Public Page).
Several of the cadets received promotions at the review:
Ordinary Seaman to Able Seaman
Able Seaman to Leading Seaman
Master Seaman to Petty Officer Second Class
Chief Petty Officer Second Class to Chief Petty Officer First Class
The promotion to Anderson was made at what was his last event as a cadet. Curran explained that Chief Petty Officer First Class is the highest rank a Sea Cadet can obtain.
Marksmanship awards were presented to PO1 Kyla Edwards (Marksman Class); AS Moira Kopanyas and AS Monique Kopanyas (First Class Marksman); and PO2 Stacey Biccum (Distinguished Marksman). CPO1 Bryce Anderson received a five-year medal, while PO2 Biccum received a four-year medal. PO1 Allison Spooner received the Lord Strathcona medal, the highest award available to a Sea Cadet.
Other awards presented were:
Most Improved Cadet: OS Tanisha Terry
Outstanding Dress and Deportment: AS Zachary Hiltz
Most Proficient in Drill: AS Monique Kopanyas
Esprit de Corps: LS Zayden Demchuk
Volunteer: AS Robert Belin
Outstanding Cadet: AS Moira Kopanyas