Skip to content

Sault’s 432 Wing members work to support local air cadets

Established in the community more than 70 years ago, 432 (Algoma) Wing Royal Canadian Air Force Association members share friendship and a passion for aviation

The 432 (Algoma) Wing Royal Canadian Air Force Association is a not-for-profit group primarily dedicated to supporting the young people of the 155 Borden Gray G.C. Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron of Sault Ste Marie.

Receiving its charter on Feb. 26, 1953, 432 Wing is the Sault and area chapter of the national Royal Canadian Air Force Association (RCAFA), established in 1948.

RCAFA Wings across Canada include Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) veterans, former air cadets and aviation enthusiasts.

Its members advocate for a strong air force, inform Canadians of the RCAF’s proud history, advocate for veterans’ rights and encourage young people to develop an interest in civil or military aviation careers.

“We’re a like-minded group of people who like aviation and want to continue to support it,” said Steven Mullins, 432 Wing board chair, in a recent interview with SooToday.

“Some of us were in the air force, some of us have worked in aviation. We try to pull in all types of aviation people. We have people from the MNR, from businesses, people who want to support the Air Cadets. We have the cadets here and the Wing’s big purpose is to support the cadets financially or in any capacity we can to allow them to perpetuate their program,” Mullins said.

“Because most of us have gone through the cadet program or have been associated with the cadet program in some way we can see the advantages of being a cadet. They get leadership training, they get self discipline, they learn life skills whether it’s being in the bush or doing the biathlon program,” said Clyde Healey, 432 Wing past president. 

“If you talk to any of those cadets you find they’re very mature in the way they speak to an adult. They present themselves very well. They interface very well with adults and they’re respectful,” Healey said.

432 Wing raises funds through special events and offers bursaries for young people to take not only flight training but also to study at college, university or in specialized programs at fine arts, music or dance schools.

“We try to encourage them to get into lifelong learning, to be able to improve themselves and to be able to provide something back at the same time,” Healey said.

432 Wing - with 61 members - holds monthly meetings and annual general meetings. 

Mullins, Healey and fellow 432 Wing member Alan Fell - each of whom spoke to SooToday - share a love of aviation.

Mullins is an electrician at Algoma Steel and volunteers with 155 Borden Gray G.C.  Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron.

Healey and his four brothers - Raymond (Ray), Robert (Bob), Bryan and Clifford - each served with the 155 Squadron between 1949 and 1965.

Clifford Healey died with the RCAF while on a rescue mission Nov. 2, 1971.

Clyde Healey worked in administrative roles with the Sault Ste. Marie Board of Education (now the Algoma District School Board) and later as a PUC vice president.

He joined the 49th (Sault Ste. Marie) Field Artillery Regiment, serving as the unit’s commanding officer twice.

He is still associated with the 49th as its acting Honorary Colonel.

432 Wing member Alan Fell has had a lifelong attachment to aviation.

As a 10-year-old boy during the Blitz, Fell lived in London, England with his mother, grandmother and three siblings while his father served with the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force (RAF) in the Second World War.

A skilled tradesperson trained in interior painting and decorating, Fell himself served for two years in the RAF in the early 1950s. He worked on several types of aircraft.

With his wife Hilda, Fell moved to Canada in 1956 and transferred to the RCAF.

He left the RCAF to work at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa beginning in 1965, retiring in 1990. He worked as the museum’s Chief of Technical Operations.

Upon retirement, Fell moved to Comox, BC, where he first joined the RCAF Association. He and his wife moved to Sault Ste. Marie in 1998 to be close to his family, including three grandchildren.

Upon resettling in the Sault he transferred from the RCAF Association’s 888 Wing to the Sault’s 432 Wing.

Though Mullins, Healey and Fell are not pilots, they enjoy aviation, helping the air cadet program and time spent with 432 Wing membership.

“We enjoy the fellowship, the camaraderie that comes from a common interest,” Healey said.

“It’s an opportunity to socialize with people like Alan and Clyde. They’re amazing people to socialize with,” Mullins said.

“The Wing, for me, has been the source of some of the finest friends I’ve ever had. With Clyde and his wife, we’ve travelled to Europe and Alaska. Steve and I have known each other for years. Everywhere I go there are people who I know through the Wing,” Fell said.

“Clyde joining the Wing was one of the best things that ever happened. He’s an organizer. He got it organized to what it is today. We had little money but after an AGM we made close to $7,000 and we haven’t looked back,” Fell said.

“Clyde’s there to help me and help us in our roles as a mentor,” Mullins said.

Mullins, Healey, Fell and the rest of 432 Wing’s membership are looking forward to an official flag raising ceremony at the Ronald A. Irwin Civic Centre to mark the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 100th anniversary Friday, April 5 at 4:30 p.m.

Everyone is welcome to attend.  

Cadets and dignitaries will be there to commemorate the event.

That occasion will be followed by other activities locally and nationwide throughout 2024.

What's next?

If you would like to apply to become a Verified reader Verified Commenter, please fill out this form.


Darren Taylor

About the Author: Darren Taylor

Darren Taylor is a news reporter and photographer in Sault Ste Marie. He regularly covers community events, political announcements and numerous board meetings. With a background in broadcast journalism, Darren has worked in the media since 1996.
Read more