Manitoulin Sea Cadets celebrate 10th anniversary at annual review

LITTLE CURRENT—It was an impressive array of music and precision drills during the 348 Manitoulin Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps 10th annual ceremonial review.

To mark the occasion, their original sponsors, 134 Admiral Mountbatten Sudbury Sea Cadets and its impressive band, joined the Manitoulin cadets. World War II veteran Dennis Dockrell acted as this year’s reviewing officer—a fitting choice as Mr. Dockrell is the grandfather of two of the Manitoulin cadets, Petty Officer First Class (PO1) and coxswain Bradley Sayyae and Master Seaman Ben Sayyae.

Following the march past by the cadets, the colour party, and the raising of Canadian flag and the national anthem, the reviewing party was introduced to the cadets and their fans in the audience. This year’s reviewing party was led by Mr. Dockrell and consisted of the Commanding Officer for 348 Manitoulin Lieutenant (N) Maggie King, Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes, Algoma-Manitoulin NDP candidate Michael Mantha, Navy League of Canada Ontario Division board member Henry Wall, North Bay representative Petty Officer Green, Manitoulin Navy League President Bob Jewell and Northeast Town Mayor Al MacNevin.

Master of ceremonies and civilian instructor Josh Pascoe recounted the history of the corps to the audience, a history that began 12 years ago with an idea of navy veterans Ed Kift and Jeff Marshall of Little Current. Between 2002 and 2004, the Manitoulin cadets were a division of 134 Admiral Mountbatten in Sudbury with Mr. Kift and Mr. Marshall driving a group of cadets each week to Sudbury for training.

“Under the leadership of then Lieutenant (N) Carmen Laidley, the corps grew and matured,” Mr. Pascoe said. “In 2007 the corps was led by Lieutenant (N) Deb Goode, then by Lieutenant (N) Denis Blake in 2009. In 2012, Lieutenant (N) Maggie King took over as commanding officer and remains in that position today.”

He explained that in 2012, Manitoulin became a host corps for a group of cadets from Espanola. In 2013, that group became 357 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Hero.

“Many former Sea Cadets have distinguished themselves and have become leaders in their community, business, civil service and the Canadian Armed Forces,” the master of ceremonies said. “[pullquote]The corps receives many compliments on the behaviour and professionalism of their cadets on parade and in the community.”[/pullquote]

He continued, noting the success the corps has had in competitions throughout the year including seamanship, orienteering and marksmanship, and acknowledged the marksmanship team, which won a zone shoot this year over eight other cadet corps—the sixth year for this particular accomplishment. The team members include PO1 Zoe Murphy, PO1 Brad Sayyae, PO2 Eric Harper, Master Seaman Nick Harper and Master Seaman Ben Sayyae.

Mr. Pascoe thanked the many groups and organizations that support the Manitoulin Sea Cadets, including the regional detachment, the Navy League of Canada and the cadets’ sponsoring committee, the Manitoulin Navy League. He also acknowledged the many officers and civilian instructors that make the program such a success.

Before calling his cadets to attention to begin the official march past and showcase of drills, PO1 Brad Sayyae proudly reported to his grandfather with a proud salute and a quick smile.

In the first display, PO1 Zoe Murphy led the cadets through the ‘drill without arms.’ For many minutes the young woman, obviously very much at ease in her role that afternoon, ordered her cadets around the arena in an impressive array of commands, all pulled off without a hitch.

Following the drill without arms, the Admiral Mountbatten band performed two songs much to the delight of the audience. The 11-piece band and their leader wowed the crowd with their show of skill and even played the hit song ‘You’re going to miss me when I’m gone’ (aka the Cup Song). (Check out a video of the band on The Expositor’s website

[pullquote]During the review, Lieutenant (N) Blake acknowledged the nine coxswains who were the senior cadets during their tenure with the corps, all of whom held the rank of CO1.[/pullquote]

Jeremy Cosby is currently serving as a member of the Royal Canadian Navy aboard a frigate; Theresa Shain is presently working in the art department in the film industry in Toronto; Jesse Wilkin works in the retail industry in Mindemoya; Nick Macaluso lives in Sudbury and works for a religious charitable organization; Chrissy Benoit is a member of the Royal Canadian Navy and stationed in Halifax; Andrew Blake works in Sudbury for Paragon Security and plans to pursue a career in law enforcement; Matthew White lives in Sault Ste. Marie and works in the retail industry; Courtney Kanasawe lives in Wikwemikong and works in construction; and Mason Dugas is a member of the Canadian Forces, training at CFB Gagetown. He also noted that just last week former cadet PO1 Nick Steer began basic training.

In honour of the event, former coxswains wrote congratulatory messages to the corps, which were read aloud by Lieutenant (N) Carmen Laidley.

“I know none of our experiences will be nearly the same, but we do overcome a lot of the same obstacles as we go from being a regular kid in a classroom to a cadet in uniform,” Theresa Shain wrote. “Expectations change and responsibilities seem to carry more weight.”

“Cadets provides a lot of different opportunities to you as a teenager and it’s these opportunities that lead to experiences which really shape you for the world of college or university or work you’ll be facing after high school,” she continued. “Take advantage of every offer, like the shooting range, sailing in the channel, learning a musical instrument and most of all, camp! Have an incredible summer and good luck on your adventures!”

“As I’m sitting here on the top bunk of my tiny little bed in my tiny little room with my five other roommates here at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick, memories of the adventures and exciting moments of my cadet career come flooding back to me,” Private Mason Dugas writes. “Aside from improving as an individual, the Canadian Cadet Program provided me amazing and exciting opportunities that I never would have thought I would get to do. Through the cadet program I was given the opportunity to visit both coasts from Nova Scotia to British Columbia and I attended cadet summer training camps in both Kingston and Cornwallis to further develop the skills of my trade.”

[pullquote]“I often think of the many cadets I saw join and start from day one and eventually turn into the amazing people they are today,” he added.[/pullquote]

Andrew Blake wrote, “Being a cadet taught me skills that have helped me succeed in school and in my chosen career in security and law enforcement. It has also helped me a great deal in my community work with North Shore Search and Rescue. The cadets has helped me to develop leadership skills and confidence and to respect people from all walks of life.”

Reviewing Officer Dockrell approached the podium to address the cadets, congratulating them for the display they put on that day. “It was absolutely wonderful,” he said, praising the work of Lieutenants (N) King and Blake “for doing a wonderful job of putting these young people in the position they are in today.”

MP Carol Hughes also spoke, congratulating the cadets on all they have achieved. “Enjoy what is before you, make new friends and remember the skills you learn now as they will serve you well in the future,” she said, thanking the parents for their support of their cadet children.

“You guys were sharp, you guys were crisp, your boots were shiny, your belts were tight,” Michael Mantha addressed the cadets. “I am so proud to be part of the reviewing party and standing alongside Comrade Dockrell.”

[pullquote]“We’re looking at the future of Canada with these young people and I believe it is in very capable hands,” said Manitoulin Navy League President Bob Jewell.[/pullquote]

“This is a wonderful year of celebration, our 10th year, but most of all we have to celebrate the achievements of the cadets,” said Lieutenant (N) King. “Take what you have learned here and apply it to your life skills. Each and every one of you are winners—don’t you forget that.”

During the most anticipated part of the evening, the awards ceremony, the cadets were called to the stage to receive their award. Cadets receiving awards that were part of the colour party, however, must never leave their station and so were picked up by Coxswain Sayyae.

The Outstanding First Year Cadet Award was presented to Leading Seaman Miranda McKay by Naval Cadet Tara Pascoe; the Outstanding Second Year Cadet Award was presented to Master Seaman Alexis French by CI Tina Davidson; PO2 Brandon Lee Shawana was named Outstanding Third Year Cadet by Michael Mantha; Outstanding Fourth Year Cadet was awarded to PO1 Zoe Murphy by Carol Hughes; the Most Improved Cadet Award, which is presented to a cadet who has demonstrated a drive to work towards increasing skills in dress and deportment, drill, mandatory classes and self-discipline, was awarded to Master Seaman Bailey DeChateauvert by Bob Jewell; Tim Vanvolkinburgh was named with the Brian Chapelle Outstanding Citizenship Award; the Perfect Attendance Award was presented by Wikwemikong Tribal Police Constable Kevin Smith to his son, PO2 Shane Smith; the Recruiting Award, presented to the cadet who brought in the highest number of new cadets to the corps, was awarded to PO2 Brandon Lee Shawana; and the Top Marksmanship Award was presented to PO1 Zoe Murphy.

The Esprit de Corps Award is selected through a secret ballot of the cadets themselves and is based on a cadet that has demonstrated a positive attitude that contributes to the Esprit de Corps of the Manitoulin Sea Cadets. This year saw a tie, with the award being presented to both PO1 Cindy Hu and PO2 Shane Smith by Little Current Public School Principal Jamie Mohamed and Mayor Al MacNevin.

The George Bury Memorial Award, named for the late Retired Colonel George Bury, a World War II veteran, to the cadet that exemplifies the Latin phrase ‘fidus amicus,’ a ‘true friend,’ was presented to by Leona Bury, accompanied by Lieutenant (N) King, to PO2 Shane Smith.

This year’s Male and Female Proficiency Awards, presented to cadets who have demonstrated excellent qualities of leadership by influencing cadet behaviour, was given to PO1 Brad Sayyae and PO1 Cindy Hu.

The Navy League Cadet Service Medal, for a cadet that has served four full years in the corps, was presented to PO1s Cindy Hu, Zoe Murphy and Brad Sayyae.

The Legion Medal of Excellence, which is given to a cadet in recognition of individual endeavours in citizenship and meets or enhances the aims and objections of the cadet movement, Manitoulin, was awarded to PO1 Cindy Hu by Comrade Jeff Marshall. The Legion Medal of Excellence, Gore Bay, was presented by Branch 514 President Carrie Lewis to PO2 Eric Harper.

While Private Mason Dugas could not attend the afternoon celebration, they them wished to acknowledge his time with them, presenting his parents Martha and Michael Maciuk with a shadowbox and an engraved pewter mug.

Navy League of Canada handed out the next award, explaining that in the spring of 2013, a cadet administered first aid to his cousin who had fallen from his bike which had caused the exposed handlebar to drive into his thigh. “The cadet quickly obtained a towel and applied pressure on the injury and directed another friends to the Little Current ambulance base,” he said. “Paramedics responded and took the injured youth to the local hospital. Treatment included closing the wound with 17 stitches. For his quick and decisive action, Master Seaman Robbie Norris will be presented with a special Navy League award.”

Mr. Wall also presented awards to Richard Zimmerman and Jeff Marshall.

Finally, the most coveted award of the evening, Most Outstanding Sea Cadet in the 348 Manitoulin Sea Cadet Corps, was presented to PO1 Brad Sayyae by his grandfather, the reviewing officer for the afternoon, an obviously proud Mr. Dockrell.