Utah’s Grand Welcome for IACE
Story and Photos By C/2d Lt. Faith Christiansen
UTWG Public Affairs Cadet Liason
UTAH WING – This year 19 International Air Cadet Exchange (IACE) cadets came to tour Civil Air Patrol’s Rocky Mountain Region (RMR). Starting on July 25, 2018, they came to Utah Wing to participate in a list of activities that lasted until July 27 with the guidance of select Utah Cadet Ambassadors.
Eleven Cadet Ambassadors from Blackhawk Cadet Squadron, Thunderbird Cadet Squadron, and Weber Minuteman Composite Squadron met at the Hill Air Force Museum to welcome this year’s cadets of the IACE program.
Each Utah Cadet Ambassador was paired with two IACE cadets from either Belgium, Canada, China, New Zealand or the United Kingdom and was sent on their way to tour the museum. IACE cadets were able to see American aviation history in the Utah Aviation Hall of Fame and an F-16 Fighting Falcon.
“It was so fun! Getting to tour the museum with the Utah cadets was really cool because we got to see different aircrafts, but also get to meet the host cadets. My favorite part was that it had really big planes right outside and you could just walk out and it was still part of the museum. It wasn’t your typical museum,” said Cadet Flight Sergeant Zafina Budhwani from 604 ‘Moose’ Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron in Calgary, Canada.
On the evening of July 25, Col. Michael Fernandez, the Utah Wing Commander, joined the cadets at the Salt Lake Bees game and handed out gift bags containing a Utah Wing IACE handkerchief, Salt Lake City Bees stickers and a Utah Wing Challenge Coin.
“The game was a good laugh, and certainly an interesting part of American sporting culture to experience. Oh and go Bees!” said Cadet Warrant Officer Dominic P. Brewer of 2402 Burghfield Squadron, United Kingdom Royal Air Force Air Cadets.
Halfway through the Salt Lake Bees baseball game, several IACE cadets volunteered to participate in a costumed run that happens shortly after the second inning. The cadets were taken under the stadium were they dressed into a carrot, eggplant, banana, tomato and corn costume.
“The highlight was seeing other IACE cadets dressed up as a fruit and vegetables and then falling over whilst racing each other,” said Brewer.
Cadet Warrant Officer Nathan Tracey took first place in the race against vegetables.
“It was hot running in that costume but it was an amazing experience, I say the best banana won,” said Cadet Warrant Officer Nathan Tracey of the United Kingdom Royal Air Force Air Cadets, who was wearing the winning costume.
The next morning both the IACE Cadets and the Utah Cadet Ambassadors headed to a Cowboy Shootout. Several members of the National Rifle Association (NRA) demonstrated their quick agility with weapons on a course.
The cadets were then each individually taught how to load black powder and shoot everything from a pistol to a shotgun. Along with the cadet’s participation, Utah Senior Members and Rocky Mountain Region Staff also were given the opportunity to successfully accomplish the course. After recording the times from every member, Cadet 2nd Lt. Bradon W. White came in first-place with the record time of only 26 seconds.
“I’m American, Why would I not like shooting guns. It was interesting to see the IACE cadets who haven’t fired a gun before do so for the first time,” said Cadet 2nd Lt. Bradon W. White from Weber Minuteman Composite Squadron.
Cadet Capt. Emily Miner and Cadet 2nd Lt. Faith Y. Christiansen following behind in second and third place with similar times.
“Shooting is great no matter what. It was nice to shoot such a large variety of guns and being timed was definitely fun,” said Cadet Capt. Emily Miner from Weber Minuteman Composite Squadron.
Later that day, cadets were taken back to Salt Lake City to the Clark Planetarium where they were able to explore space in several different interactive activities including pendula, lasers, plasma globes, scales, dry ice, and many prototypes of comets, planets, and even real artifacts from the moon.
“The planetarium was wonderful. It allowed us to share our common interests in aerospace with the IACE cadets,” said Cadet CMSgt. Abigail Johnston from Blackhawk Cadet Squadron.
After eating lunch the Col. Tom Kettell, the Rocky Mountain Region Commander, departed the group, but not before handing out his personal challenge coin to each IACE cadet and listening to the several renditions of each countries’ national anthems.
“It was fun to learn about the different cultures and to see how proud each cadet was about their country. I found it funny when I realized America had taken the U.K. Anthem and changed the lyrics to better fit America,” said Miner.
Cadets then headed to the last event of the day back at Camp W.G. Williams in Bluffdale, UT – a Leadership Reaction Course (LRC). At the LRC, Utah Cadet Ambassadors and cadet members of Blackhawk Cadet Squadron paired up with groups of IACE cadets and began getting ready to conquer the course.
“It was honestly life-changing, we got to experience all new cultures, new experiences, and meet new people,” said Flight Sergeant Alex Lake from Alexandria, New Zealand, New Zealand Air Training Corps.
Through many LRC’s including towering walls, and different obstacles only a few groups found success.
“The LRC’s helped us to really bond with our newfound friends,” said Johnston.
After a nights rest, cadets again met at the bus for their last trip in Utah to Arches National Park in Grand County, UT. Cadets went on several different hikes through the carved red rock and took several photos of their adventures.
“Being able to connect with cadets from other countries provides a unique perspective that wouldn’t be received otherwise,” said Cadet 1st Lt. Gabriel Beninati from Blackhawk Cadet Squadron.
All Utah Cadet Ambassadors then parted ways with the IACE cadets where they then traveled to their next RMR destination, Colorado.
“Overall, the experience taught me better communication skills and even life-skills, it was an experience that I would never forget and look forward to for the years to come,” said Cadet 1st Lt. Dillan Searle from Weber Minuteman Composite Squadron.