A sea cadet who lives in Castlegar was one of four Canadian sea cadets chosen for an Arctic voyage this summer.
Petty officer, second class Kyungtae Cho, a member of the Kootenay Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps, was one of four cadets in Canada selected for a coast guard deployment on the CCGS Henry Larsen. Cho said one of the reasons he was successful in being selected for the deployment in the first place is because he was in good physical shape. One of the requirements for the deployment was that cadets have a minimum Bronze level on the Cadet Fitness Assessment, and as luck would have it, Cho had trained to apply for a perry officer position, where he would have been responsible for fitness training. He didn’t get the position, but the preparation put him in shape to apply for the Arctic deployment.
Cho left for the deployment on July 11 and returned Aug. 9. He first arrived in Halifax, N.S., where he met the other three cadets selected for the deployment and spent time with them at Canadian Forces Base Shearwater, and then proceeded to St. John’s, N.L., where the CCGS Henry Larsen was docked. Cho and the other cadets boarded the ship, and spent the next three to four weeks sailing with the coast guard.
“We did what cost guards did,” said Cho. “We went up in the bridge and did lookout shifts, in case there was an iceberg and if we hit it we’re gonna sink, so we don’t want that to happen. We cooked or we went down in the engine room, cleaned the machines so there was no malfunction or anything. We steered the boat — that was pretty cool. I liked it.”
Cho said steering the boat was probably his favourite part of the experience. He was also lucky enough to spot some walruses while on lookout duty. Cho enjoyed the deployment so much that he has decided to train to join the coast guard following graduation.
“I wasn’t sure before I went to deployment, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be when I graduate from high school, but then after I went there, I really want to be a coast guard now,” said Cho. “So it kind of gave me a dream.”
Cho moved to Castlegar six years ago from Korea as an exchange student, and his family joined him four years ago. Cho would like to be stationed in Canada following his training, but his mother, Angela Jung, would like to see him stationed in Korea. “As a coast guard student, like one you go to college, you’re supposed to travel around the world with the coast guard,” said Cho. “It’s probably going to be like all around the world, but for the job I just want to be here.”
This is Cho’s fourth year in cadets, and he credits the program with offering him some structure since he moved to Canada.
“Cadets you learn like how to get nice personal standards, get a strictness to yourself, and like volunteering acts and everything,” he said. “And you get free credits for school.”