Featured Squadron of the Month

223 Red Lion RCACS Squadron Crest

223 Red Lion Squadron

Squadron Name:  223 Red Lion Squadron
Chartered:  November 30, 1942
Status:  Active
Community: Vernon, BC

Squadron History

On 30 November 1942 the first Air Cadet Squadron in Vernon was established as the “Vernon High School Squadron.” At that time Cadets started their training at the Old Fulton High School. During WW2 the RCAF personnel looked after the training operations, and the Vernon Rotary Club was the Squadron Sponsor.

Copy of the 223 Red Lion Original Charter
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No. 223 Squadron Air Cadets of Canada

The Squadron then moved to Building No 36 of the Vernon Army Camp, remaining there until 1955. Several other buildings were used until 1977 when Building [Hut] E 8 was established as home until the building was demolished in September 2002. The Squadron then took up residence at the Vernon airport until January 2007 when it moved to its current home in the Vernon Armoury.

Female Cadets joined the Squadron in 1953 and have proved themselves capable and excellent Cadets. At present Female Cadets form just over 45% of squadron strength. Other changes over the years include the uniform colours from blue to green and back to today’s blue.

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1958 photo of 223 Vernon Air Cadet Squadron
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Capt. Victoria J. Schrauwen, CD

One of several outstanding 223 Red Lion Squadron former female cadet examples is Capt. Victoria J. Schrauwen, CD.

Victoria Schrauwen has been involved with the program for many years. Her journey started with her participating as an Air Cadet at 223 Red Lion Squadron where she advanced in the program up the Air Cadet ranks to the top rank of Warrant Officer First Class. During this journey she earned both her Glider and Power Pilot wings. After aging out of the program at age19, she later returned to 223 as an officer. Victoria continued her upward journey through the ranks of the Cadet Instructor Cadre at 223 Red Lion Squadron completing two terms as commanding officer. She continues to work with 223 in varying capacities.

The air cadet program solidified Victoria’s love for aviation, and she has enjoyed a career working on airplanes for 20 plus years at KF Aerospace. Her experience and involvement at 223 Squadron speak volumes about the training program being offered to Canadian youth in Vernon. Victoria is quoted as once saying “There is nothing more rewarding than watching a 12-year-old turn into a confident, accomplished 18-year-old with leadership experience, instructional abilities and a skill-set that sets them up for success while they enter adulthood.”

The 223 Red Lion squadron’s name was adopted from the Regular Force 223 Red Lion Squadron, a Squadron that was formed on 01 April 1918 and remained active worldwide until disbanding 23 August 1963 in Folkingham.

At the 35th Anniversary Dinner in 1977 the Squadron Banner was presented as well as the Red Lion Crest, and the Squadron Motto “Excel Through Knowledge” was adopted.

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Original 223 Red Lion Squadron crest
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1978 photo of 223 Air Cadets in front of a Chinook Helicopter from 450 TAC Helicopter Squadron

For the 49th Anniversary of the squadron in 1991, at the anniversary parade, the Mayor of Vernon, Mr. Wayne McGrath, after inspecting the cadets proclaimed that in Vernon, the month of October 1991 was to be referred to as the Month of the Air Cadet.

Thanks in part to the enormous generosity of Corporate Sponsors like the Vernon Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25, the Vernon Rotary Club, the RCAFA 899 Wing, ANAVets, the Woman’s Aux ANAVets, Pioneer Club, the Coldstream Woman’s League and the fundraising efforts of the Squadron Sponsoring Committee and the Cadets of 223 Red Lion Squadron over the years, typically in the spring, many Citizenship Tours have been conducted by the squadron. These include trips to CFB Comox, CFB Cold Lake, AFB Fairchild, CFB Moose Jaw, RCMP Training Depot in Regina, Esquimalt Naval Base, CFB Edmonton, Cadet Station Aldergrove, Albert Head on Vancouver Island, an Air Cadet exchange to Ottawa and a trip to Calgary with 222 Squadron in Salmon Arm.

The ACFBC wishes to thank Ms. Laurie Dolinsky, Mr. Keith Malmkvist, Capt. Victoria Schrauwen CD, and Capt. Jason Paas at 223 Red Lion Squadron for their contributions to this month’s presentation.

More detailed information about 223 Red Lion Squadron can be found by visiting their website at:  https://223redlion.ca

The 75th Anniversary Parade of 223 Red Lion RCACS in 2017

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