By Jasmine Franklin
For the Ponoka Air Cadets’ 13th annual “Dining in Night,” cadets and family members enjoyed a night of company and formal military style.
“This night is about celebrating and acknowledging people,” said Capt. Shane Kreil. “It’s a traditional military dinner.”
After marching into the mess hall at the Ponoka Legion Feb. 20, the respected tradition of the Missing Comrades Ceremony was performed. During this ceremony, cadets and everyone in attendance honored recent fallen soldiers with a short biography.
This year’s honored fallen soldiers are Lt.-Cmdr. Robert Hall killed Feb. 20 at sea 25 miles southeast of Dungarvan, Ireland; Sgt. George Miok, killed Dec. 30 along with Calgary Herald reporter Michelle Lang and three others in Afghanistan; and Cpl. Dany Fortin killed March 3, 2009 northwest of Kandahar, Afghanistan.
“This is a really symbolic gesture,” Kreil said. “Very set protocol and strict routine.”
The hats of the soldiers were marched to an empty dinner table with specific place settings. A white tablecloth symbolized the purity of their intentions to respond to their country’s call to arms, a rose represented the families and loved ones of fellow comrades awaiting arrival, a slice of lemon was placed on the bread plate to remind those of their bitter fate, salt is symbolic of tears and they wait and the glass is inverted as the soldiers cannot toast on that night.
Cadet Tyler Davis has been a Ponoka air cadet for five years and told Ponoka News a little bit about the experience.
“It teaches discipline, how to dress up and it’s a great experience for kids,” he said. “You’re always learning so much about leadership and you really do learn everything here that you need for life and to be successful.”
Cadets who received pins for 90 per cent or greater attendance are coropals Casey Cohoe, David Dease, Garret Gault, Tara Meikle, Clinton Rodney. Sgt. Catlen Huseby, Flight Cpl. Alexis Stewart, warrant officer II Alistar Delday, Flight Sgt. Tyler Davis, warrant officer II Leo Chow.
Evelyn Huseby is volunteer of the year for 2009, recognized by Stan Monkman with the provincial air cadet league.
There are 54 youths aged 12 to 19 in the Ponoka air cadets and the team meets once a week for training, drills and education.
“It encourages the values of citizens and leadership,” Kreil said. “They train on aircraft and navigation information.”
Coming up at the end of March, 20 cadets and two officers leave for San Diego for a tour of the Marine Corps Air Station MiraMar. Cadets will see aircraft carriers along with the location where the movie Top Gun was filmed.