Members of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Malaspina were ready for their annual review Saturday, June 1, and this year was particularly special as Royal Canadian Navy Captain Kurt Salchert presided over the inspection.
Salchert, who will retire this summer to Victoria after 31 years of service, got his start as a member of the corps. His mother still lives in the community.
“It all started here on a Tuesday evening in September many years ago as a 12-year-old when my parents dropped me off at Timberlane,” said Salchert, standing on the parade grounds outside the Timberlane barracks.
Malaspina Commanding Officer Lieutenant (Navy) Dave McLennan invited his lifelong friend to preside over the inspection.
“It’s the same old facilities here,” said Salchert. “It’s nice to be back in the same old community and what’s amazing is you see the same faces that you did 30-some years ago, whether as cadet officers, civilian instructors or former cadets. That’s community spirit and small-town pride. I’m not sure you’d find that anywhere else in the country.”
Timing fell into place for Salchert to attend the inspection, he said. “In times of fiscal austerity you’ve got to make a pretty compelling case. I happened to be here on other business and it worked out that I could come up here from Victoria.”
Salchert has been in the United States for the past five years and since 2011 he has served as the Canadian liaison officer to the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Washington DC.
“It’s pretty tough to beat representing your country in another country,” he said. “All roads lead back to Canada and I’ve got to do something different, but what that is I don’t know yet.”
McLennan’s cadets presented Salchert, in Navy tradition, with a paddle knotted up with decorative rope work in red and gold thread, the corps’ colours, and bearing the brass insignia of the corps.
“It took me a long time [to create],” said Petty Officer First Class Christopher MacDonald. “It took almost three days of work but it turned out good.”