Cadets, from the ground up

Young re­cruits can learn ev­ery­thing from marks­man­ship and drill to camp­ing

Truro Daily News - - REGION - FRAM DINSHAW

TRURO, N.S. – Eliot Cut­ler had only been an army cadet for about an hour, but he was al­ready learn­ing how to han­dle an air ri­fle

He was one of a hand­ful of new re­cruits at 2928 Royal Cana­dian Army Cadets in Truro, who signed up Sept. 11. Once in­ducted, they can get a taste of mil­i­tary life, such as march­ing and field ex­er­cises in com­bat uni­forms.

“You may not be the best at ev­ery­thing, but peo­ple will try to help you out,” said Cut­ler, 13. “It will im­prove my man­ners and so­cial skills.”

He was also look­ing for­ward to the cadet sum­mer ad­ven­ture camps. Cut­ler said cadets are “paid to have fun,” re­ceiv­ing $120 for two weeks in the field; a three-week camp nets par­tic­i­pants $180.

As well as hav­ing fun, Cut­ler will have the chance to move up quickly through the ranks within the first few months.

Fel­low cadet Luther Stronach is just 12 years old and joined cadets last fall, but is al­ready a cor­po­ral.

He is keen to im­prove his marks­man­ship skills on both the cadet Daisy/avanti .177 air ri­fle and the reg­u­lar forces’ C-7 as­sault weapon. Stronach also wants to prac­tise ori­en­ta­tion with map and com­pass, es­sen­tial skills for any­one on field ex­er­cises.

As his skills advance, he will have the chance to com­pete in ski­ing and biathlon chal­lenges and de­velop his out­door sur­vival skills. This may in­clude build­ing a “hoochie,” a makeshift tent that can be cam­ou­flaged.

“My con­fi­dence has grown a lot in the cadets,” said Stronach. “I used to not like groups at all. I re­ally en­joy work­ing with groups now. I think it’s fun; I like to talk to peo­ple and have their in­put on my ideas.”

How­ever, all the ju­nior cadets still have much to learn about mil­i­tary dis­ci­pline and the chain of com­mand.

That’s where Mas­ter War­rant Of­fi­cer Olivia Shilling­ton comes in. At 18 years old, she is the most se­nior army cadet in Truro.

Her job is train­ing cadets, start­ing with the ba­sics, such as how to ad­dress of­fi­cers and who to di­rect prob­lems or ques­tions to. The chain of com­mand works by hav­ing cadets di­rect a query to the rank above them. If it is a ma­jor is­sue, it will be passed up the chain to Shilling­ton and then a com­mis­sioned adult of­fi­cer.

“I’m ex­cited for the new cadets to learn all the things I learned over the last five years in army cadets,” said Shilling­ton.

Army cadets runs ev­ery Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Truro Ar­moury, 126 Wil­low Street. Pro­gram­ming is free.

To join the cadets or in­quire about be­ing an adult in­struc­tor, sim­ply drop in on a reg­u­lar cadet night.


New army cadet Eliot Cut­ler learns the ba­sics of safely han­dling an air ri­fle, un­der the watch­ful eye of Mas­ter War­rant Of­fi­cer Olivia Shilling­ton.

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