Departing with dignity

Justin Crann
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Johnson's 45 years of service recognized

Lt.-Col. Lyle Johnson has another honour to celebrate.

Outgoing 1856 Moose Jaw Schools Cadet Corps administration officer LCol. Lyle Johnson (right, standing) discusses matters with fellow officers prior to the MJSCC's 72nd annual ceremonial review Saturday. Johnson will retire at 65 with 45 years of military service and five years with the Cadets

On Saturday, Johnson’s 45 years of service with the Moose Jaw Schools Cadet Corps (MJSCC) was recognized and his retirement as an administration officer celebrated — first as part of the 72nd annual ceremonial review and, later, in a separate ceremony.

“It’s called Depart with Dignity,” explained Johnson. “It’s accorded to anyone who has served more than 20 years. For myself, I have served 45. That’s an astonishing number for me.”

Johnson, who has been an instructor and CO in the cadets, said he still remembers joining the organization with his brother in 1964.

“(It was) in these very armouries,” he said. “My brother is the reason I joined the cadets in the first place. He came from Calgary, today, to be here for this.”

Johnson said he “had no intentions” in joining the cadets, and just signed up because it “was a good thing to do.”

For a man with no intentions, he noted, there was much to learn.

“Cadets taught leadership. It taught citizenship. It helped me with teaching,” said Johnson. “A lot of the things I learned in cadet program about how to manage people, I still used as a teacher all of those years that I taught. These are sound fundamentals.”

Johnson’s service with the cadets has drawn other honours in the past, including the Order of Military Merit — the equivalent of the Order of Canada for servicemen and women.

Soon, he will receive another gift: a pair of flags.

“One flag, I believe, is from a cadet camp I would have served at,” said Johnson. “The other that they give you for significant service is one of the flags that has come from the Peace Tower in Ottawa.

“They change that flag every day, but people are presented with one of the flags that has been flown there,” he added. “In the military world, it’s a pretty significant thing.”

When asked how many cadets he has worked with over the years, Johnson could only give a ballpark estimate.

“I figure it was around 15,000,” he said. “That’s nice, but it’s sort of daunting, as well. It’s a gratifying feeling, though.”

You can follow Justin Crann on Twitter.

Organizations: Moose Jaw Schools Cadet Corps, Peace Tower

Geographic location: Calgary, Canada, Ottawa

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