Cole Lazaruk took a major step toward his desired career while at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Penhold earlier this month.
The North Kildonan air cadet, just 13, is already trying to make his dream of becoming a commercial pilot for Air Canada come true.
Lazaruk is a corporal in the 6 Jim Whitecross Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron at McGregor Armoury at 551 Machray Ave. in the North End, and is looking to earn his glider and power pilot wings through the program, just like his brothers Luke and Ben did.
While out at the base in Penhold, Alta. for the two-week camp, Lazaruk earned honours for top cadet of the day, top cadet of his flight, and earned the opportunity to serve as parade commander during the closing parade.
"Once I got up there, I was in charge of about 200 cadets, calling commands for them," Lazaruk said. "I had to remember 33 commands in sequence.
"It was exhilarating. It gets your heart pumping because you don’t want to mess up."
Lazaruk found out the evening of July 17 he had earned the role for the parade, held the morning of July 19. He noted there was one in-depth practice where each step was covered meticulously.
After the closing parade, Lazaruk was invited for lunch with the officers in their mess, where he was awarded a silver medallion for excellence and a gold medallion from the commanding officer.
While in Alberta, Lazaruk learned about topics ranging from gliding and survival to team building and Parliament. He noted most instructors out were just completing high school, as many of them were 17 or 18, which he appreciated.
"You can relate to their training, because they’re not too much older than you," said Lazaruk, who will be entering Grade 8 at Chief Peguis Junior High School this fall.
Lazaruk was most excited to get some gliding experience, as poor weather had washed out his opportunity to try it with his squadron.
Lazaruk’s commanding officer here in Winnipeg, Cpt. Sylvia Evenson, was impressed with Lazaruk’s first year in cadets.
"He takes initiative when it’s warranted and knows his role as a follower," Evenson said in an email from Europe, where she is vacationing. "He is often seen helping other cadets, whether it’s reviewing a skill that they were taught or helping another cadet with their uniform."
Evenson has served as the squadron’s commanding officer since 2010, and in that time has had several cadets take on significant positions at summer training centres, including one in the role of Warrant Officer First Class at CFB Penhold.
Evenson noted the squadron’s information night for next year will take place Thurs., Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. The program is for youth aged 12 to 18.