A member of 419 Squadron gets promoted to Captain at the Kamloops Overlander 886 Wing dinner.
Did you know Kamloops is one of only two Canadian cities (the other being Ottawa) to have a regular Air Force flyover on Rememberance Day?
Did you know that Kamloops is one of the only communities in Canada to have a formal relationship with a Air Force squadron that is not locally based?
Wing Commander John "Moose” Fulton was a beloved and legendary WWII flying ace who was tragically killed in action during the war. He was born and raised in from Kamloops and our airport, Fulton Field, is named in tribute to him. Wing Commander Fulton is also still honoured by his Air Force squadron, the 419 Squadron, a NATO training squadron based in Cold Lake, Alberta. Every Commanding Officer of 419 has taken on the nickname Moose for the duration of his tenure.
Members of the 419 Squadron visit Kamloops at least twice a year - once for Rememberance Day and once, around this time for a year, to participate in a dinner hosted by Kamloops’ very own 886 Overlander Wing, an association of military veterans.
I consider myself very lucky to have attended many of these dinners since I’ve served on council. The group at the 886 Wing dinner has gotten smaller, as more Veterans pass away. Alec Sim, an incredible Kamloopsian and Honourary CO of the 419, reminded us this year that we should always remember the sacrifices veterans have made for our country. His grandfather and uncles served in WWI. Alex himself stormed the beaches at Normandy and served in Korea. Alex made special mention of the 419 squadron members who had joined us. He said they are serving their country so very well. Three of these young officers were given their promotions at the dinner, going from Flight Lts to Captains.
When I was in high school, I had some opportunity to explore the military as a career option. I chose not to look too far into it because I didn’t like the idea of being front line in a military conflict or war. I’d like to be one of those who help prevent conflict or wars in the first place. Spending time with Veterans and active duty military folks, however, has given me huge respect for their commitment to step up when they are called, to risk and make the ultimate sacrifice. Unfortunately, there are times when efforts to avoid conflict or war fail. My own Grandfather, who I loved dearly, was in the infantry in the Indian Army and served in the Korean War.
I also know a lot of the folks flying for airlines today got their start in the Air Force, with its great training programs.
There is a wonderful, family like atmosphere at the dinners in which the 419 Squadron dinners participate in Kamloops. It’s such a honour to be invited.