Surrey’s own Andrew Crawford will help with the laying of wreaths at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Remembrance Day, after being named the 2017 Royal Canadian Legion Air Cadet of the Year.
Crawford, 17, is a Grade 12 student at Guildford Park Secondary School. Has been an air cadet for five years, with the 767 Dearman Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron in Whalley, where he is the chief of the squadron of 165 cadets.
“It’s really cool,” he said of the recognition. “I was actually quite surprised. Essentially what it is, is the top cadet of the year, all around.
There are thousands of cadets in this province.
“It’s just a really great honour I get to go to Ottawa for this Remembrance Day,” Crawford told the Now-Leader. “What’s actually happening is, the Legion top cadet of the year award, what is outlined with it is you get a Legion medal of excellence — that’s one of the things you get from it — and you also get to be the national representative of the air cadet program at the national Remembrance Day ceremony in the Ottawa, at the cenotaph. So I’ll be part of the viceregal party. I’ll be alongside, I believe, the silver cross mother, the defence minister and the governor general.”
There will be a sea cadet and an army cadet, too.
“I’ve done quite good over my cadet career,” Crawford said. “I got top cadet three years consecutively in a row at each of the camps I attended so that’s general training, two week course, basic drill and ceremonial course, and drill/ceremonial instructor course.”
Does he want to be a fighter pilot?
“Definitely the option’s there. It hasn’t really been leaning towards the armed forces at the moment but I’m definitely looking into a career in aviation.”
Commercial jets, then?
“That’s the plan. What I’m actually thinking of doing is going to one of the local universities and getting a degree first. I haven’t really decided the specifics. I want to get an undergraduate degree and from there work on my commercial pilot’s licence, just at a local flight school, and work up my hours there.”
Warrant Officer Second Class (WO2) Crawford and his fellow cadets parade out of the Whalley Legion on Tuesday nights, near the infamous 135A strip.
“WO2 Crawford is an exemplary illustration of what a model cadet should be,” said Anthony Langlois, of the Air Cadet League of Canada. “He is an enthusiatic pilot and hardworking cadet who is well-respected by his peers and commanding officer. Cadet Crawford volunteers in his community, is an avid athlete and strives to give back to the cadet program.”
His mom, Julie Crawford, thinks he’s rather neat, too.
“It’s pretty amazing,” she said of her son’s achievement.
“Every year it goes from one province to another province,” she said of the honour, “so this year it’s B.C.’s turn.”
The Air Cadet League of Canada is a non-profit community and volunteer-based group that aims to instill in young people the attributes of good citizenship and leadership as well as promote physical fitness and stimulate interest in aviation and the aerospace industry.