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Naujaat named top cadet corps

The year is closing out with a bang for the 3055 Royal Canadian Army Cadets Corps (RCACC) in Naujaat, with the corps being named best in its region for the second consecutive year.

Aaron Kopak is promoted to the rank of cadet warrant officer by Uluta Ivalutanar in Naujaat on Nov. 24. photo courtesy of Lloyd Francis

The top corps presentation was further enhanced by the promotion of two Naujaat cadets, Jack Kopak and Aaron Kopak, to the rank of warrant officer. Both Jack and Aaron are in their fifth year with the cadet program.

3055 RCACC Commanding Officer Capt. Lloyd Francis said both Jack and Aaron completed all the necessary requirements and training for the rank of warrant officer and are very deserving of the promotion, which brings the number of warrant officers in the 3055 RCACC up to six, including two chief warrant officers.

He said the corps got to further celebrate the promotions and being named the corps of the year in their region with their annual Corps Christmas Mess Dinner at Tuugaalik High School.

“We had about 40 cadets attend the dinner and a number of community guests, including management from both the Northern store and our local Co-op, our mayor and his wife, our SAO and his wife, our three corps elders, a member of the RCMP and the elementary school principal,” said Francis.

“We had a few teachers and one of our nurses volunteer to help out with the cooking for the turkey dinner and all the trimmings of stuffing, potatoes, carrots, turnips and cranberry sauce.

“Everyone really looks forward to the Christmas dinner because we don't get the chance to eat in our uniforms very much … We decorate the school gym up a bit and we put the flags up and our corps numbers out, so it's just a nice event where we all get to sit down together and share a meal.”

Francis said there are three really big events during the year for the cadet corps: the final parade of the year when the promotions and awards are presented, the Remembrance Day ceremony and the Christmas Mess Dinner.

He said this year was made even more special by being named as the top corps in the region for the second time, which includes Nunavut and most of Manitoba for army cadet corps.

“It was completely unexpected when a special guest came up -- zone training officer Capt. Erin McKinlay -- to visit both Rankin Inlet and Naujaat,” Francis said.

“Being named the top corps for a second time is a huge feather in the corps hat.

“Capt. McKinlay was attending our Christmas Mess Dinner and I asked her if she'd like to get up and say a few words and I was really caught off guard, but very proud, when she surprised us with the announcement.”

Being named top corps two years in a row does bring a little pressure to try and maintain that standing, Francis said, but the corps will simply continue to do what it has been doing the past few years.

Francis said staffing was still an issue with the corps and wished he had more resources available to him, but the program was lucky to have the ongoing support of local stores and the hamlet.

“I think we are where we are due to the fantastic community support we receive,” he said.

“The business community and the hamlet office both view the cadet corps in Naujaat as being a very strong positive aspect of the community.”