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Fort Macleod cadets have new commanding officer

Capt-Ripley

Capt. Randy Ripley is the new commanding officer of the 2309 Fort Macleod Army Cadets.

Fort Macleod cadets have a new leader.
Capt. Randy Ripley assumed command of 2309 Fort Macleod Army Cadets in a change of command ceremony Wednesday, Jan. 19 at cadet headquarters.
Ripley replaces Capt. Kevin McKenna — corps leader since 1995 — who has been transferred to the Crowsnest Pass detachment of the RCMP.
Presiding officer of the change of command was Capt. Scott Dawson of 18 Air Defence of Lethbridge.
McKenna’s presence is going to be missed.
“We’re definitely going to miss him,” Fort Macleod corps civilian instructor Donavan Hieb said. “He is a good man, easy to get along with.”
Ripley has already been with the 2309 corps for a year, travelling from Coaldale to Fort Macleod for weekly cadet activities.
“It’s a great program,” Ripley said. “I was an army cadet in Winnipeg when I was a boy. I wasn’t a bad kid, but I was on my way. It turned my life around.”
Ripley guided cadet corps over the course of 17 years in Winnipeg, Fernie, and Lethbridge before signing on with the Fort Macleod corps. He has also been in the regular forces.
Ripley has two priorities he plans to pursue as the corps’ new leader. “No. 1, to get staff. And No. 2, to get a new building.”
Both priorities are the result of the corps’ growth.
“We have almost 40 cadets now and still growing,” Ripley explained. “We have a few from Fort Macleod, but most are from Pincher Creek, Monarch, Brocket and Claresholm.”
At the same time, the corps is chronically short-staffed, Ripley said.
“We need six. At present we have Capt. John Ross from Lethbridge, who is retiring in November, and our civilian instructor Donavan Hieb from Claresholm, and myself. Capt. McKenna will continue to come when his schedule permits. But we are still three officers short. We do have a parent who is an ex-regular force who is showing some interest.”
Second on the priority list is a new building. The corps now meets in the old recreation centre once used by the World War Two British Commonwealth Air Training Program.
“We’ve outgrown it, we’re maxed out,” Ripley said. “We can’t parade in it. It’s not big enough to march in.”
The Legion, which hosts the 2309 corps, is on the lookout for new facilities, Ripley said.
Young people aged 12 to 16 years who are interested in cadets, or adults interested in helping out, can call Ripley at 403-393-0666. Further information is available at cadet.net.

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