End of an era.

Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 03:23 MST

Contributed by: evilscientist

Well, it\'s official. After 16 years of service in Canada\'s Air Reserve, I\'m saying goodbye to the blue uniform I\'ve worn so proudly. This is not to say that I\'m leaving Her Majesty\'s service, just the service I serve in. Yesterday (22 December) I took a trip up to supply at CFB Edmonton and handed in my blue air force uniform. While I was there, I picked up my new black navy uniform. That\'s right, I\'ve joined the navy. A few thoughts on my previous air service. I\'ve always liked aircraft, any shape and size. I\'ve also always wanted to fly aircraft. So I joined air cadets then later the air reserve (working with air cadets). In total 23 years of my life were spent working with the air element. As a cadet I worked as an admin clerk, a photo tech and finally as a warrant officer in charge of clerks and techs. As an officer I worked in administration, supply and training. I specialized in survival instruction. I was deputy commanding officer at several units. A few times I was lucky enough to be acting commanding officer while the CO was indisposed.

At summer training centres I worked in administration, as well as taught map and compass and general survival. I served on two bases, CFB Cold Lake (Cold Lake Air Cadet Summer Training Centre) and CFB (later CFS) Penhold (Penhold Air Cadet Summer Training Centre).

I have also worked with the Prairie Region Detachment staff in music training, shooting and biathlon.

All and all it was a good experience. Yes there were time that the going was hard, or that things seemed to be just awful; but for the most part, things were good. I rose through the ranks to captain, the rank I currently hold. For the most part, I leave with fond memories, which more than counteract the bad ones.

Why the change though? Well, a string of events lead me to this current change. A few years ago, I was working with an air cadet unit. As usual, there was the politics that seem to permeate an air cadet unit, politics that I had come to know well, even though I didn\'t like it. Simply put, through politics, a new CO was appointed, parachuted in from the outside. I didn\'t agree with the politics, so I transferred to another unit. Another couple of years passed. Again politics parachuted another CO in, again I didn\'t agree, so again I transferred out.

This time I transferred to the (at the time) new Regional Holding Establishment. My plan was to work for detachment through the year and take a rest from the politics.
As no plan ever survives contact with the enemy, a buddy of mine gives me a call asking if I would help out at the new sea cadet unit he had formed. I said I\'d think about it. Long story short, I began to volunteer with the unit (as an unpaid air officer) that September. It was actually a good fit. As a volunteer I was able to set my own hours (working primarily just on the Wednesday parade nights) and using the rest of the time to recharge my batteries and to get much of my loathing for the system that I\'d served so long out of my system.

After two years of volunteering, I received a letter from Regional headquarters in Winnipeg telling me that I hadn\'t worked enough (?!?) and needed to either transfer to a unit\'s strength, the supplemental reserve or take release from the Canadian Forces. As I\'m enjoying my new found unit, I decided to transfer to the sea unit. Since an air officer can\'t be held against a sea unit\'s establishment, I needed to change my element from air to navy.

So here I am. I hold the same rank, (though an air force captain is a lieutenant in the navy). I\'m doing the same job I\'ve been doing for the past two years, though now I\'m getting paid for it. Life moves on.

As an aside, I was at a party the other night and ran into some old friends who are still on the air side. My impression is that the politics I was fleeing have gotten even worse, muting my sadness at leaving. It does make me sad though, that the politics I fled, are causing other good people to flee, reducing the experience that the cadets left behind are getting. I suspect a collapse is coming on the air side, and the rebuilding after that collapse will probably make a better and stronger system.

As it is, I\'m now navy and so I sign off as Lt(N) Jason Nishiyama, CD, your humble servant.

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