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Firebirds Return Home to the Nest

On Monday, June 4th, 2001 at 19:30 hours, 735 Firebird Squadron of Canada's Royal Canadian Air Cadets held its 38th Annual Inspection and Review at the newly refurbished Dundas Community Centre, formerly know as the Dundas Armoury. They had to be relocated more that a year ago while the reconstruction took place. Many thanks to the Hamilton Air Force Association in Dundas for a the temporary home.

This night was special in many ways for the Firebird Squadron. In the audience, besides the proud parents of the cadets, were seven of nine former Commanding Officers of the Squadron. (in order as they appear on the Squadron Commanding Officers page) F/L Jerry Sabourin (64-66), S/L Stuart Winn (66-70) who arrived wearing his very hansome Pre-1966 Air Force blues, Capt. Fred Hopkinson (70-79), Capt. Phillip Watson (79-81),Capt. Andrew Herd (81-84), Maj. Ron Smith (84-87), Capt. Brian Carey (91-93) and of course Capt. Marilyn Coleman (94-Present). Many former Sponsors were also in the audience, even a former Chairman of the Parent's Auxiliary from the late 1960's dressed in his wartime uniform. This was F/O Fred Passmore, a WW2 Veteran who has often done speaking engagements on the topic of Canada in WW2.

In the wings were members of the newly formed "735 Firebird Squadron Alumni Group" which now boasts over 100 members since its beginning two years ago. Some of their goals are to find its former members, promote good fellowship and to promote a continued interest in the Air Cadet Program from both ends while advocating continued participation in the program as a Civilian Instructor or as a Reserve, Cadet Staff Officer when the age of retirements arrives at 19. At present there is the need for approximately 500 Cadet Officers in all branches of the Cadet Services. The Alumni Group is also interested in complementing the work done by 735's Staff, Parent's Auxiliary and Sponsor. With other plans in the works, one being a larger scale reunion to commemorate the Squadron's 40th Annual Inspection, they have their work cut out for them.

One of the most recent projects of the Alumni Group was the creation of a large Scrapbook. Unfortunately, a few years back the first two Squadron Scrapbooks (dating back to the Squadron's inception 1963) were lost in a flood in the basement of the Armoury. The new Scrapbook was presented to the Squadron by Douglas Bentley, founder of the Alumni Group. They hope to recreate that lost history by having its former members donate or copy their own memorabilia to be included in the book as time goes on.

Among the many awards that were presented for a job well done, was the Squadron Leader Winn - Officer Cadet Joseph Coleman Commanding Officer's Memorial Sword of Honour. This is the top award and is bestowed upon the most outstanding cadet for the best overall performance during the past cadet year. This year it was Sgt. Samara Young who was so honoured. The sword was presented to her by its original donator, S/L Stuart Winn himself who once served with the RAF flying some of the first jets. During the drill segment of the program, Sgt Young put her drill team through its paces which also included a silent drill routine. This is when the drill team would independently but collectively go through its various steps in complete synchronization without the use of verbal commands. This had to be seen to have been believed. A job well done Samara.

Some of the other award winners were:

Other displays included a Flag Party Demonstration commanded by Cpl. Jordan Zietsma, a Band Presentation commanded by Drum Major Patrick Smith (who had just taken over the job just 6 weeks earlier), and an action packed Sports Display under the direction of Sgt. Alok Pathak and Cpl. Nathan Yundt. Indeed a fine performance by all.

Witnessing this fine show was Reviewing Officer, Mr. Russ Powers, Ward Counsellor for the Community of Dundas in the New City of Hamilton, Air Cadet Leage representatives Fred C. Hopkinson, past President and Chairman of the Aviation Committee of the League and Dr. Keith Travis, Director of the Ontario Provincial Committee.

The Assessing Officer, Major Rick Trute, Detatchment Commander from London said in his closing comments that 735 has made his report a very easy one to write, "it can be summed up in one word" he explained "Excellent". Once again 735 has made its mark. A fantastic show! Well done! If you have an aviation minded son or daughter between the ages of 12 and 18, you are encouraged to bring them down to the Dundas Community Centre any Monday after 7:30 pm during the school year to check out Canada's Air Cadets. Check out the website! http://735firebird.cjb.net/

If you were a member of this fine Squadron at anytime since 1963, you too are also encouraged to give us a call and meet up with your old comrades. For Alumnus, call Doug at 905-523-0581 or e-mail me at dbentley@sprint.ca

735 (Firebird) Squadron Alumni