A bittersweet night at the High River Airport Tuesday, March 12, as the Foothills 187 Air Cadet Squadron welcomed a new Cadet Commander.

Austin Habing takes control of the Squadron, just weeks after his Father and Commanding Officer, Reid Habing, was killed in a car crash.

Austin says he knew it was going to be a tough night.

"There was a lot of stress and a lot of stuff going on. The stress of possibly making mistakes, or the whole gravity of the situation. But, it's kind of how we always dealt with things, it's just kind of go through with it. I was worried that I was possibly going to have a break down or something like that. But then I realized once I got in my position I was comfortable, so I didn't need to."

18 year old Ben Smith passed Cadet Command to the 17 year old Habing during the ceremony.

Smith says he's now off for a career in the Canadian Air Force.

"I got sworn into the Military, today (March 12), as an Avionics Systems Technician. So, pretty much I leave this Saturday (March 16) and then my course starts Monday (March 18), my basic training. Then I'm going to be heading off for 48 weeks to Borden, Ontario where I do my trade training and then I head off to RMC (Royal Military College) and finish the rest of my training there."

Smith says he was hoping to become a pilot, but his eye sight's not good enough, although he says laser surgery could correct his visions problems, allowing him to come out of RMC as a Pilot Officer.

ben smith mar12 2019 001Ben Smith has relinquished his post as the Cadet Commander of the Foothills 187 Air Cadet Squadron, and leaves to start his military training in the Royal Canadian Air Force on Monday.

There's large number of new and young Cadets taking part with the squadron right now, which bodes well for the program here in the Foothills.

Habing says the Cadets have changed a lot since his dad's day.

"People think that it's the whole "Full Metal Jacket" up in your face, yelling, constant heavy work. That's what it used to be. That's where Cadets like myself, who get up into the position, change what it was. They become an officer and they change those rules, not allowing that to happen."

Habing says his job is to be more of a mentor.

He says his father would have been excited for him, because he's gone farther in Cadets than his dad did.

He says Cadets are a great way to prepare you for life by teaching you things like pride and discipline.

austin habing mar12 2019 002Habing accepting his promotion and command of the Foothills 187 Air Cadet Squadron. Photo courtesy David Moretta (Facebook).

ben smith mar12 2019 002Ben Smith during the change in command ceremony Tuesday night at the High River Airport. Photo courtesy David Moretta (Facebook).

Read More: Local Cadet Commanding Officer Mourned


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