Cadets get rare glimpse into dockyard

Apprentice Dustin Ross explains to the cadets about precision cutting of metal.

Apprentice Dustin Ross explains to the cadets about precision cutting of metal.

Captain Angela Sargent, Albert Head Cadet Training Centre ~

While the sights and sounds of Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt may be commonplace for the military and DND civilian personnel who work here, for those invited guests it is a mysterious place.

So when a group of air cadets from Albert Head Cadet Training Centre toured Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Breton (FMF CB) Aug. 4, their excitement sparked through the group like an arc welder.
As part of their Basic Aviation Technology and Aerospace Course the cadets received a tour of the facility to gain insight into the techniques, technology and sheer effort that goes into maintaining the ships of Canadian Pacific Fleet.

Safety hats and glasses were handed out before the group of wide-eyed cadets was shown a few decommissioned weapons and an old ceremonial cannon.

In the metal shop, apprentice boiler maker and fabricator Dustin Ross explained how metal is cut to detailed specifications using equipment operated by a computer. His eloquence mesmerized the cadets.  They then watched a more specialized machine cut small metal silhouettes of warships, which were presented to them as a keepsake.

Cadets were then led outside to the dry dock to see where the servicing of ships and submarine has taken place since the nineteenth century. On that day, a submarine rested on blocks, and the youth marveled at its black hull. A short walk away HMCS Winnipeg glowed resplendent in the sunlight. Cadets stared up at its massive hull, mouths agape. For cadets from the prairies, it was a thrill to see this majestic warship in such an intimate circumstance.

At the tour end the cadets headed back to Albert Head, clutching their metal ship souvenir, and chatting non-stop about their visit.

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