Cadet CO bids farewell after 48-year career

Lieutenant (Navy) Ron Haskell with the HMCS Quadra cadets operating an Orca-class vessel. Photo supplied.

Peter Mallett, 
Staff Writer

Serving in all three branches of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) gave retired navy lieutenant Ron Haskell a unique perspective on military service.

“I got to see things and go to different parts of the world that others didn’t during my 48 years of service,” Haskell said. “I loved every minute of my service, and if I didn’t feel that way, I wouldn’t have stayed for so long.”

While some soldiers may have served in all three service branches at one specific trade or job, Haskell notes his tri-service record is different because he worked in trades specific to each branch. This included his service in 418 Air Reserves Squadron as an Aviation Technician, in the Canadian Army as an Artillery Officer, and in the Royal Canadian Navy with the cadets as a Tender Officer in Charge (Captain) on Orca-class vessels.

The CAF provided him with an education of the world, Haskell said. He started his military journey as an Air Cadet in 1970 and earned his gliders wings at CFB Penhold in the summer of 1973.

“At that point, a career in the Canadian Armed Forces had the lure of something different and exotic,” he remembers.

He joined the CAF in Edmonton in 1974, and 1977-1978 served as a Corporal with 1 Canadian Air Group in Germany.

In 1978, he transferred over to the Regular Force, becoming an Artillery Officer with deployments, including the United Nations Mission to Cyprus in 1982, the European Community Monitoring Mission to the former Yugoslavia in 1994, and an Exchange Officer to Germany with 5 Panzer Division in 1996. 

“Once you are in those far-away places, you understand the politics and the people, and you have a better understanding of these places than the average person,” he said. 

In 1999, he transferred back to the Primary Reserve and served with several units before becoming Battery Commander of 64 Battery, 10th Field Artillery Regiment from 2004 until 2011. From December 2009 until July 2010, Haskell served with the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

His transfer from the Army to the Cadet Organization Administration and Training Service (COATS) occurred in 2011.   

Haskell was honoured at the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps (RCSCC) Saskatchewan’s Annual Ceremonial Review at Old Fort Qu’Apelle, Sask. on May 15. The Melville, Sask. resident had been the Commanding Officer of the RCSCC Saskatchewan for the past nine years before moving into retirement.

“I was in cadets myself as a youth, so I thought I would finish my career by giving something back,” he said. “I served with some amazing people in the cadet’s organization and at HMCS Quadra.”

During his farewell, Haskell said he was incredibly proud of his contributions to the cadets and their accomplishments in recent years.

“We could offer the youth of Fort Qu’Appelle an exciting program that involved travel, sailing, marksmanship, nautical skills, leadership development, and much more,” Haskell told the Grasslands News during his farewell.

The Cadet Corps’ success and accomplishments under Haskell didn’t go unnoticed. In 2019, RCSCC Saskatchewan was awarded the Premier’s Commendation as the best Sea Cadet Corps in the province.

While reminiscing about his years of service at the Black-Tie Dinner in his honour in Regina, Sask., he shared his fondest memories with attendees.

“One of the most rewarding experiences I ever had in the military was working with the cadets when I sailed on Orca-class ships at HMCS Quadra in Comox and Esquimalt,” Haskell said.

Lt Haskell in Cyprus.

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