Cadets, from the ground up
Young recruits can learn everything from marksmanship and drill to camping
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.