(From the left): Captain Derrick McKee, Commander Peter Antonew, and Lieutenant Amy Hayes sign the certificates officially transferring command of 875 RCACS.

ANTIGONISH: The local air cadet squadron is under new leadership.

On January 27, Captain Derrick McKee relinquished command of 875 Antigonish Lions Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron to Lieutenant Amy Hayes.

“After working with the squadron for nearly 10 years, it’s a bitter sweet moment to be leaving 875,” says Captain McKee. “After coming to Antigonish in 2011, I immediately joined the squadron and have been with them since. I’ve seen well over 100 local youth come through the program, and they are by far some of the best young leaders I’ve ever met.”

Captain McKee started at 875 as a cadet himself, soon after joining the Canadian Armed Forces as a Cadet Instructor Cadre Officer to work with the squadron. McKee took over as Commanding Officer (CO) in October 2016, leading the group ever since.

Contributed photos
Lieutenant Amy Hayes receives her CO’s Commendation recognizing her dedication and professionalism in working with 875 RCACS.

Taking on the role of CO is Lieutenant Amy Hayes, who also joined the squadron in 2011, and has filled various roles in the group. Most recently she has been the Training Officer, overseeing all training and assessments for cadets.

“After almost 10 years working through various positions as a staff member with 875, it’s an honour and privilege to be chosen to take command of this unit,” says Lieutenant Hayes. “Air cadets provided me a lifetime of unique opportunities growing up, and every day I look forward to making that happen for the youth of Antigonish. There’s a whole other world of untapped experiences that our program makes possible, with a little bit of hard work and fun of course.”

First Sergeant Sam Knox prepares to lead the march past as commander of the 875 RCACS band.

At the formal change of command parade on January 27, the Commanding Officer of Regional Cadet Support Unit (Atlantic), Commander Peter Antonew, CD was in Antigonish to preside over the ceremony. During the parade, Captain McKee handed the squadron banner over to Commander Antonew, and then to Lieutenant Hayes, symbolizing the transfer of command.

While visiting 875, Commander Antonew also honored Captain McKee and Lieutenant Hayes with Commanding Officers Commendation for their work with the air cadet program in Antigonish. Lieutenant Hayes was recognized for her ongoing dedication to creating an engaging training program, and countless volunteer hours, along with her efforts in creating and maintaining the squadron’s Web site and Facebook page.

Captain McKee was recognized for his dedication to growing the squadron, countless volunteer hours, and his work with the regional outreach program.

“While I’m sad to be leaving, I’m confident that the squadron is in good hands and will continue to prosper in the community,” says Captain McKee.

Find more information about 875 Antigonish Lions Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron at: www.875aircadets.ca.

Captain Derrick McKee receives his CO’s Commendation for his work with 875 RCACS, growing its numbers, as well as his efforts as a member of the regional outreach team.