The Penhold Air Cadet Summer Training Centre (PACSTC) held a special closing ceremony last week where they retired the flag after 48 years in operation.
Hundreds of cadets, staff and guests gathered for the end of the year parade and inspection ceremony last Friday, an annual practice for each of the cadets who pass through the Penhold Centre.
“The closure is bittersweet for myself and I am sure for the cadets, officers and other staff who attended this facility over the past 48 years,” said Sara Wasiuta, unit public affairs representative for the facility.
“Today is not a sad day though because today is about the cadets and celebrating their accomplishments. They’ve worked so hard this summer. Some of them have been here as long as six weeks and I’m very proud of the great summer of training they were able to experience here this year.”
This year is the final year that the centre will offer the camp for the cadets. For 48 years thousands of youths have come to Penhold to receive special training to take back with them across Canada to their home squadrons.
Special guests Lieutenant Colonel Allan Dengis and Brigadier General Bruce Ploughman each gave a speech to the cadets, congratulating them and emphasizing the impact of being the final group of cadets to ever train at Penhold.
“Each year at the end of the summer we lower the Canada flag to mark the official end of training. Usually, it is not sad because we are excited to send these cadets away with the hope of seeing them the next year,” said Dengis. “That is not the case this year and as we retire the Penhold flag, we mark the closure of this facility from here forward.”
He went on to congratulate the cadets and encourage them in their training, even though it would no longer be in Penhold.
At this time, there is no official word on what the Penhold facility will be used for. During the time of the training centre a variety of skills were taught including marksmanship, cadet biathlons, music training and more.
“PACSTC was able to offer such a range of programs for the cadets from gliding in the canola field in Netook to performing music on such a grand scale at the House of Music, which is a reformed church,” said Wasiuta. “It was just close enough to Red Deer and Red Deer Airport that we were able to offer tours, excursions and opportunities for the cadets, yet we had a lot of space in the Springbrook area to offer training for over 1,200 course cadets.”
Many cadets were smiling, proud to demonstrate the skills and knowledge that they acquired over their term. Awards were given out for the last time that ranged from excelling in the musical training program to clean marksmanship to squad commanders who showed exceptional leadership skills.
Cadets who trained at PACSTC in the 2014 year may be last to train here but their skills will continue to be developed at other facilities throughout the country.