Saturday, April 28, 2018

Jersey Day & ACR II


April 6, 2018 will go down in infamy as the day when a semi-tractor trailer truck and coach bus collided near Armley, Saskatchewan.  The tragedy is further amplified by the fact that the bus was carrying the Humboldt Broncos, a junior ice hockey team outfitted with players 20 years old and younger.  The team competes in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL).  Ten players, two coaches, an athletic therapist, two employees from a local radio station, and the bus driver did not survive the collision.  Those that did were left severely injured.  The driver of the semi-tractor trailer is now facing multiple criminal charges.
News of the tragedy spread very quickly throughout the country and later the world.  Many organizations, politicians, foreign dignitaries, and celebrities have offered their condolences to the victims, the team, and their family members.  I found out from reading Internet articles.  (I don’t own a tv up here).  The bus crash made me think of my younger cousin.  He’s not a member of the Broncos but he does play in the SJHL.  He most likely travels with his teammates to out-of-town games on coach buses.
People were encouraged to wear sports jerseys on April 12 to remember the victims of the crash.  A number of teachers & students at Inuujaq School followed this request and assembled in the playground during afternoon recess for a group photograph.  Unfortunately, I don’t own a sports jersey, so I demoted myself to photographer. 
Other tributes that have been done are: leaving hockey sticks outside peoples’ houses, turning the crash site into a memorial, and a GoFundMe fundraising effort for the victims and their families.  I, and I’m pretty sure everyone else, hope that an accident such as this will never happen again.
Royal Regiment of Canada flag.
3045 Army Cadet Corps held a second Annual Ceremonial Review (ACR) Parade on the evening of Wednesday, April 25.  Brigadier General K.L. Woiden, Commander of the National Cadet & Junior Rangers Support Group, was the Guest Reviewing Officer (GRO).  In short, BG Woiden is the officer in charge of Canada’s cadet program.  Hosting the top boss would be, and was, a huge honour for 3045.

Two northern corps were notified of the General’s plans to visit them in April.  The two corps were Arctic Bay & Iqaluit.  Flights were booked, accommodations were found, and schedules were finalized.  The General wouldn’t be travelling alone.  Two administrative officers would be accompanying him.  Promotions and several awards were withheld from the first ACR so that there would be something to present with the General in attendance.  Since the first ACR Parade was a success, I felt confident that the second one would be even better.

The second ACR Parade followed the same format as the first one.  I marched into the gym, escorting General Woiden to front.  He inspected the cadets on parade and observed the March Past.
Brigadier General Woiden
General Woiden gave a short speech to the people in attendance.  He talked about what it’s like being in charge of the cadet program, frequently travelling across the country to visit various corps, and seeing Canadian youth being molded into future leaders.  He confessed that this was his first time visiting 3045 & Arctic Bay, but was glad to be able to do in his position.  He further explained that he was retiring in June.

Me receiving the Brigadier General's coin.
Frank May receives the Brigadier
General's coin.
The General continued his presentation by awarding me his coin as a way of recognizing and acknowledging the hard work that I have done and will continue to do as commanding officer (CO) of the corps.  He also bestowed his coin to Lt. (ret). Frank May, also for the hard work he has done as the previous CO and for helping me as a civilian volunteer.  The top cadet of the corps was the third person to receive the General’s coin for exemplifying good leadership, behaviour, and deportment.
Cadet MCpl Pauloosie receives the Brigadier General's coin.
The manager of the Northern Store presented a cheque to the corps for $855.31.  The money was from the company’s Greener Living program, given to local organizations who do activities that benefit the environment.  In the corps’ case, the money will be used for the next community garbage clean up in early September.
I called up the cadets who earned the four special awards at the first ACR to have their pictures taken with General Woiden.  They were all smiles while holding the trophies & plaques.
Two junior cadets being promoted.
The next part of the parade were the cadet promotions.  Five junior cadets were promoted to the ranks of Lance Corporal and Corporal.  Two senior cadets were promoted to the ranks of Master Corporal (MCpl) and Sergeant (Sgt).
MCpl Pauloosie receives her promotion to Sgt.
I briefly took over the parade to make a special announcement.  Through the power of Internet & email, I was informed that the marksmanship team had done really well at the Stage III Marksmanship competition in Gimli, MB.  In fact, they were the top team in the Eastern Arctic Division.  The team would be advancing to the National Competition in Victoria, BC, in early May.  This is the first time in the corps’ history that an entire team would be “going to Nationals.”  Everyone applauded the team members in attendance.
BG Woiden & his staff receive picture books from the Hamlet Office.
The last presentation of the night was done by the Hamlet Office.  They presented General Woiden and his staff with picture books of Arctic Bay as a way of thanking them for visiting the community.  The books were put together by Clare Kines.
The cadets & I posed for group photographs with General Woiden and his staff.  Everyone was then dismissed to enjoy the snacks at the reception. 

Group photograph.
Several of my cadets convinced me to take a selfie with them after the parade.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Marksmanship Team & ACR I

The corps marksmanship team had been busy for the last two months getting ready for the upcoming competition in Gimli, MB.  They were scheduled to leave on April 13.  They practiced on the weekends, shooting grouping & scoring targets in the prone & standing positions.  I felt the five cadets had a good chance of performing well this year, judging from all the targets I marked.
Being selected to compete in Gimli is an accomplishment of its own.  A Stage II Postal Shoot is held in cadet corps across the Northwest Region and the scoring targets are mailed down to Winnipeg.  The targets are marked and corps’s with the highest scores are selected to attend the Stage III competition in Gimli.  3045 Army Cadet Corps selects its five cadets based on the 3 A’s: Attendance, Attitude, Ability.

*No spectators were present when this
photograph was taken. All air rifles were
unloaded and safety catches were enabled.
I was supervising a team practice on Sunday, April 8, when I decided to take several photographs for promotional purposes.  I reasoned the pictures would be useful for media releases, the corps Facebook group, the corps bulletin board in the school, and for this blog.  I made sure the air rifles were unloaded and the safety catches were on for each photograph.  The end results, as you can see, turned out quite well.
The cadet corps is affiliated with the Royal Regiment of Canada in Toronto, Ontario.  The Arctic Bay cadets wear the Regiment’s cap brass & badge insignias on their uniforms.  Senior cadets additionally wear Regiment brass buckles and red sashes. 

Unfortunately, due to the great distance between the Regiment & the corps, these uniform fragments were all the cadets mostly new about the Regiment.  The senior leadership of the Regiment were made aware of this and through several discussions, they made plans to come to Arctic Bay in April for the Annual Ceremonial Parade (ACR).  They would also use the opportunity to strengthen the connection by teaching the Inuit cadets about the history of the Royal Regiment and our sister corps, 2736 RCACC.

The senior leadership arrived on April 9.  They were: Colonel (Col.) Graham, Lieutenant-Colonel (Lt.-Col.) Nonato, Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Persaud, and Sergeant Hirji.  Graham is the Honourary Colonel of the Regiment, Nonato is the Commanding Officer (CO) of the Regiment, Persaud is the Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM), and Hirji is the Regiment’s Senior Administrator.  Frank & I greeted them at the airport.  We drove them into town after formal introductions and helped them drop off supply packages for the corps & school.  We then drove them to the Tangmaarvik Inn to check in.  We had a short meeting in the Inn’s dining area to discuss the plan for the next several days.
The senior leadership spent April 10 out on the land with the local Rangers.  I couldn’t go, because I had to teach.  The CWO borrowed my skidoo for the trip.  From what I heard, they had a great time seeing a different part of Canada.  In the evening, the visiting staff met the cadets at the Uquutaq Centre.  They introduced themselves, explained the purpose of their visit, talked about the history of the Royal Regiment, and taught them the motto: “Royals ready? Aye ready!”  They also hinted they would be looking into the possibility of doing a cadet exchange between 2736 & 3045 in the near future.  I hope it materializes.  The biggest hurdle to overcome is the high cost of travel.  I concluded the meet-and-greet by showing pictures & videos of our cadets doing various past activities.

The ACR occurred on April 11.  The cadets transformed the gym at Inuujaq School into a parade square.  Two rows of chairs lined one of the walls with the awards table in the middle.  Each chair had a printed program on it.  Two cadets taped the NEAS flag on the back wall.  (NEAS is a recent corps sponsor).  Brief biographies about our guests were also taped to the walls. 

Flag Party. Photo taken by JF.
The parade began at 6:30pm.  The flag party marched on parade and deposited the Canadian & Cadet flags on opposite sides of the awards table.  Then they marched to their assigned places and became the left markers.  The corps marched to the centre of parade.  I marched in with the representatives of the Royal Regiment.  The audience stood.  I let Colonel Graham receive the General Salute.  The national anthem was played followed by a prayer from Rev. Leah May.  The Reviewing Party was big this year: the Colonel, Lieutenant-Colonel, CWO, and I.  While we inspected the cadets on parade, Lieutenant (ret.) Frank May kept the audience occupied by introducing the visiting officers.

Lt.-Col. Nonato.
A March Past followed the inspection.  The cadets marched very well.  The visiting guests were given a chance to say a few words.  Lt.-Col. Nonato was the first to speak, followed by Col. Graham, and CWO Persaud.  They all talked about being in Arctic Bay for the first time, enjoying the scenery, learning from locals about Inuit culture, and doing whatever it takes to keep the relationship between the Regiment & cadet corps strong.

Cdt. Iqaqrialu receives his
Bronze Level Fitness badge.
The parade moved on to the presentation of awards.  We started with General Awards.  The three winners of the 2017 Fall Biathlon Competition were called up to the front to receive their prizes: t-shirts & sweaters.  The Biathlon Team was called up next to be recognized for competing in Whitehorse in February.  They didn’t advance to the national level but they deserved recognition nonetheless. 

Cadets were called to the front to receive marksmanship level badges.  There are 4 levels: 1 is the lowest & 4 is the highest.  The 2018 Marksmanship Team was recognized for being chosen to represent the corps at the upcoming competition and wished good luck.  Civilian Instructor Kigutikarjuk concluded the General Awards by calling out the cadets who earned physical fitness badges.

MCpl Ejangiaq receives the Most Improved Cadet Award.
MCpl Willie receives the Best Boots & Deportment Trophy.
MCpl Tilley, D., & LCpl Tilley, C.
receive the Top Male & Female Athletes
There were four special awards to present.  The first was the Most Improved Cadet Award and this went to Master-Corporal Ejangiaq.  Local RCMP officer Jessie presented the award.  CWO Persaud presented the Best Boots & Deportment Award to Master-Corporal Willie.  Lt.-Col. Nonato had the honour of presenting the Top Male & Female Athletes Trophy to Master-Corporal Tilley, D., and Lance-Corporal Tilley, C.  The final special award was the Top Cadet Award and this went Master-Corporal Pauloosie.  Col. Graham presented the award.

MCpl Pauloosie receives the Top Cadet Award.
Me showing the audience the corps fidget spinner.
The last presentations to make were the Special Acknowledgements.  I went first by thanking the senior staff of the Royal Regiment for coming this far north to see the cadets and for being the Guest Reviewing Officers (GROs).  To show my appreciation I presented them four corps fidget spinners.  They were greatly amused by this gesture.  Lt. (ret.) May went next by presenting them with picture books of Arctic Bay, put together by Clare Kines, and four Inuit carvings.

RSM Persaud explains the significance
of the pace stick.
Unbeknownst to everyone, the Regiment also had special acknowledgements to make.  Col. Graham called me to the front and praised me for being in charge of the corps & teaching the cadets leadership skills.  For my efforts, he presented me a book, titled Always Ready: A History of the Royal Regiment of Canada.  I also received a framed portrait of present & past Royal Regiment uniforms.  CWO Persaud went next and handed over his regimental pace stick as a gift to the corps.  I was surprised by this gesture.  I carefully handed over the “sacred pace stick” to cadet Platoon Commander Tilley, D.  Lt. May was also recognized for his efforts within the corps and given a copy of Always Ready.  A third copy of the book would be donated to the Inuujaq School library.  Lt.-Col. Nonato did the final acknowledgement, awarding a small Royal Regiment plaque to RCMP officer Jessie for his tireless efforts in keeping the people of Arctic Bay safe.         
MCpl Tilley, 2Lt. Dzioba, & RSM Persaud
Arctic Bay resident Sheena Qaunaq did the closing remarks, thanking the parents, sponsors, the people who prepared snacks, and the visiting GROs.
The parade concluded with the Advance in Review Order, General Salute, and the playing of God Save The Queen.  I breathed a sigh of relief after I marched out of the gym with the GROs.
Everyone was dismissed to the reception table after the final applause from the audience.  The GROs posed with the cadets for a group photo.  To keep everyone entertained while they ate, I played a slideshow of photographs of the entire cadet training year.
Another successful ACR Parade.

*Most featured photographs were taken by Clare Kines.  Thank you for being the Official Photographer!        

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Extreme Ironing V

“Time to take this show on the road.”
I followed this saying when I planned & carried out my fifth extreme ironing stunt in Arctic Bay.  Last year’s stunt saw me ironing dress clothes on the roof of my residence, but this time would be more exciting.  I wanted to bring back the same level of motion used in 2016, when I was photographed & filmed ironing on a moving qamutik (sled).  I settled on ironing on the back of a pickup truck.  My stunt crew & I would film the epic stunt on the Road to Nanisivik, with King George V Mountain in the background.  I didn’t want to cause any traffic jams or public disturbances in the community.    
Stunt Crew: John, Laura, Greg, Calbert.
I was able to recruit four brave souls to help me document my fifth EI outing.  They were: John, Calbert, Greg, and Laura.  John, Calbert, and Greg are teachers, while Laura works as the school’s secretary.  Frank “happily” let me borrow one of his pickup trucks for an afternoon on the strict condition that I bring it back in one piece.  (He’s the same Frank who provided the qamutik in 2016).  I also borrowed 4 sandbags from the school’s gym to anchor the ironing board in place. 
April 7, 2018.  Showtime.
Calbert poses as the driver. I had no
idea a picture was being taken.
My stunt crew arrived at my place in the afternoon.  I thanked them again for volunteering their time and gave them a short motivational speech.  They helped me load all my equipment into the back of the pickup truck.  We headed off towards the staging area, just past the Gas Station.  Mother Nature was on our side: the weather was clear and sunny.

Calbert was the pickup driver.  John & Greg would take photographs at opposite ends of the road, and Laura would film from the middle point.  I would also capture film with my two GoPro cameras.  One would be attached to my helmet while the other would be attached to the truck.  While my photographers went to their respective places, I went to work setting up my ironing board and clothes hanger.  With the ironing board safely held down by four sandbags, I wrapped two zipline cords around the coat hanger.  I didn’t want anything, nor anyone, falling out of the truck while it was in motion.  I let everyone know over the walkie-talkies that I was ready to being and asked if they were ready too?  One-by-one, each person confirmed their readiness.  I turned on both my GoPros and pressed the record buttons.  I tapped twice on the roof of the pickup truck.
The show began.

Calbert drove at a steady speed.  I began “ironing” a dress shirt and did my best poses for the cameras.  I did whatever pose I could think of: looking down, looking ahead, looking to the side, holding my iron up in the air, and waving at the cameras.  I acted like I was having the time of my life, which I most definitely was.  I had to exaggerate my mannerisms because I was wearing heavy outer clothing and my face was obscured by my skidoo helmet.  I hoped my three camera people got good pictures and raw film footage.

Calbert stopped just past King George V Mountain (KGVM) and did a u-turn.  I rearranged the ironing board, and switched over my dress pants.  I tapped twice on the roof of the pickup truck and Calbert drove back.  I repeated the same steps and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.  Even though the weather was sunny, I was mindful of the cold temperature.  Batteries, unfortunately, don’t last long when exposed to the cold.  We only had a limited window of time before the batteries would die.

We took a short break after the second run.  Calbert did a u-turn and parked the truck on the side of the road.  The camera batteries were at half-strength, so we decided to do two more runs.  On the last run, I instructed Calbert to drive faster, up to 50km/h.  This increase in speed made the last run the most exhilarating. 
I took a group picture of my stunt crew because my fifth outing wouldn’t have been possible without their help.  I shook each of their hands and declared Extreme Ironing V a success.  We packed up and drove to Arctic Bay.  I would collect the pictures & videos in the coming days.  Following that would be several days of sorting and editing.  I'm glad I was able to edit enough pictures to feature them on this blog post.

Hard to believe that I have five extreme ironing experiences under my belt.  So far I have ironed: on top of KGVM, out on the land, on a moving qamutik, on the roof of my residence, and now on a moving pickup truck.  I can only wonder what I’ll do next year in 2019?

For those of you who are still confused, extreme ironing “is an extreme sport [where] people take ironing boards to remote locations and iron items of clothing.”  There are plenty of pictures on Google showcasing this amazing sport.  You’ll even find photos of my previous EI adventures.  You should all try it at least once.  Why stay inside when you can iron outside and enjoy the great outdoors at the same time!