27444 OCdt Jamie Tillapaugh’s experience working with HMCS Ontario
By: 27182 Officer Cadet (IV) Carmen Kiltz
It has probably been about a month since the Sea Cadets filtered into RMC and essentially “took over” the College grounds. This is nothing unusual, however. Each year hundreds of Sea Cadets aged anywhere from 12 to 19 years of age, plus accommodating staff, call RMC their home as they carry out their summer training.
Meanwhile, any RMC Officer Cadets hanging around the peninsula are witness to the seemingly non-stop schedule of activities exercised by the cadets.
It’s barely seven o’clock and the sea cadets are out on the parade square in PT gear with glossed boots, practicing drill and their musical instruments. Midday at lunchtime, one can watch as the masses of sugary desserts disappear within seconds into the hands of hyper-active youth in the Mess Hall, and throughout the afternoon and evening mobs of cadets are out sailing on the water in Navy Bay, formed up outside of Currie Hall, or playing sports on the inner field.
Beyond the physically evident activities, the Sea Cadets also receive a fair amount of class instruction and are up on base shooting on the “range.”
I caught up with OCdt. Jamie Tillapaugh (photo upper left), a third year student at RMC working with the Sea Cadets. She is one of less than ten other RMC Officer Cadets working with HMCS Ontario this summer.
OCdt. Tillapaugh works up at CFB Kingston as the ARSO (assistant range safety officer). The three-squadron native is kept busy working to ensure the Sea Cadets have the opportunity to learn the basics of shooting the Daisy Air Rifle.
“Most of the cadets that come are aged 12 to 14 years old and it’s their first time shooting,” she says.
Some of the daily duties of the Political Science student include setting up rifles and organizing the classes, going over equipment and safety, watching over the shooting relays and dealing with any issues that the cadets may have with their rifles. She also spends a fair amount of time fixing, cleaning, and zeroing the rifles while the cadets receive instruction in the classroom on subject areas such as safe handling of the rifle and biathlon training.
Until now, a memorable moment for Jamie was when the former RSM of the Royal Canadian Dragoon in Afghanistan, Chief Levesque, came up to run biathlon with the Sea Cadets.
“It was pretty awesome to see someone with a career like his shooting a daisy air rifle for fun with a bunch of 12-15 year olds!” she exclaimed.
Jamie also notes that she has learned a few things; “Kids can surprise you…for better or worse,” she laughed.
When the Sea Cadets finish their summer training, Jamie, as a member of the RMC Womens Varsity Soccer Team, is looking forward to starting her pre-season training camp in mid-August. This upcoming semester, she looks forward to taking courses such as the History of Peacekeeping since the 1980’s, and the Introduction to the History of Terrorism.
“I’m stoked…these are the courses I have been waiting to take since coming to RMC,” she said.