Seventeen-year-old Benn Fisher and 70-year-old Bruce Caughill have more in common than most might think.
As members of the 155 Borden Gray G.C. Air Cadet Squadron, present and past, they both value the leaderships skills they acquired above all else.
At age 14, Caughill was encouraged to join the Air Cadets in 1960 by his squadron leader uncle and cadet cousins.
While he values all his experiences and the skills he acquired during his four years with the program – teamwork, discipline, camaraderie – he focused on leadership aspects during his training.
He was fortunate enough to be one of 240 cadets selected from across the country to take part in a summer-long leadership course at Camp Borden.
“I learned an awful lot about myself as well as the Air Force and working together as a team,” Caughill told SooToday. “(What I learned during cadets) is a big part of who I am and what I’ve done my whole life.”
Warrant Officer Second Class Benn Fisher is currently in his sixth year of Air Cadet training, originally joining the program with the intention of becoming a pilot.
However, the leadership side of the program also drew him in, and he’s now the Acting Chief Warrant Officer responsible for all other cadets below him.
“That’s a hard job and it takes a lot of work, organization and effort, but I think that will really benefit me going forward,” Fisher said.
And while he finds enjoyment in glider and pilot training, he plans to pursue an education in history, political science and international law.
“There’s been a lot that I’ve had the opportunity to do that I don’t think I would have had if I didn’t join. I’m really grateful for that and it’s been an awesome experience,” Fisher said.
The two were at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre earlier this week, sharing stories and memorabilia with Captain Roy Harten, 155 Borden Gray Air Cadet Squadron public affairs representative.
The unit is preparing to celebrate its 75th anniversary later this year, and all past, present and future cadets are invited to take part.
The weekend-long event kicks of on Friday, May 5 with a public social at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre.
For more information at the 75th anniversary celebration and all other 155 Borden Gray initiatives, please click here.
The Air Cadet League of Canada is a civilian, non-profit, community-based and volunteer-led organization that, in collaboration with the Department of National Defence and our other partners, is dedicated to supporting the objectives of the Royal Canadian Air Cadet program. The purposes of the League are to advance the education of the Air Cadets and to promote an interest in the air element of the Canadian Forces, specifically:
• To increase knowledge of aviation by providing educational programs and resources, including flight and ground crew training, guided visits to science and aviation facilities, and aviation-related awards and scholarships;
• To encourage the development of citizenship and leadership through enrichment activities such as effective speaking and music, community volunteer opportunities, and academic awards and scholarships; and
• To provide air cadet training as a means of promoting the efficiency of the armed forces.
A news release issued by the 155 Borden Gray Squadron regarding the unit’s 75th anniversary follows.
The 155 Borden Gray G.C. Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Cadets marks its 75th anniversary since forming in 1942. Past 155 Alumni, cadets, staff and friends are invited to gather in Sault Ste Marie for our May 5 weekend of events that will include a reception Friday night at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Center, the Squadron’s Annual Review in the morning, gala dinner on Saturday and a breakfast on Sunday.
Saturday, the names of the past 155 cadet alumni will be officially announced as the Reviewing Officer for the Annual Review which is also open to the public.
In 1941, the Air Cadet League of Canada was formed to train young men while providing an interest and training in aviation and good citizenship. The 155 Sault Ste Marie Squadron was formed in 1942 of boys aged 14 to 18. In the 1990s, the 155 was named after Flight Officer Roderick Borden Gray G.C., a Sault native and one of only ten Canadians in WWII to receive the honour of the George Cross, the second highest recognition for bravery in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth.
Over 1,000 boys and girls have gone through the various levels of training where they learned good citizenship, theory of flight and had a flight in a glider or power aircraft with many going on to earn their glider or power pilots wings. The vast majority of these cadets look back on the lifelong friendships that they made while training together. For these reasons, it is no wonder that they still stay in touch with other alumni and this 75th Anniversary is a chance for them to get together from across Canada. This will give the alumni the opportunity to reminisce while meeting current cadets and staff.
155 Alumni includes current and past members of the Canadian Armed Forces that continued in aviation as either a pilot or aviation related trades. Some have chosen other trades in the military where they have grown and excelled. Still others have chosen civilian occupations or transitioned from the military to civilian life where the knowledge and skills learned in Air Cadets have assisted them in their careers. There is also a famous Canadian painter who played in the 155 Pipe and Drum Band in the early 1950s.
Current day cadets can experience the same opportunities as well as flight simulator training and the Dr. Roberta Bondar Air Cadet Training Program that features hands-on aircraft maintenance. Open to boys and girls aged 12 to 18 years with no fees to join or participate in the training which takes place at the Sault Ste. Marie Armoury from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Thanks to the generosity and hard work by the Sault Ste. Marie Museum, the 75th Anniversary Committee will publish the squadron’s digitized history through photos, newspaper clippings, biographies and more here. Keep checking back as new material such as trophies and recipients’ names are posted continuously which can be searched by name. Past squadron alumni are encouraged to share or submit any squadron history they may have as well as provide names to photos.
Having an accurate written history of the 155 Sqn is important to acknowledge the dedication and growth of those who passed through the ranks. We are searching for the oldest alumni member of the 155. Can you help us in our mission?
For anniversary event ticket information, please visit the squadron web page for continuing event updates. Tickets must be purchased online prior to Mar. 31, 2017 to qualify for entry into the early bird draw.