Poul Osted is making an extraordinary effort to stay involved in the Hay River Army Cadet Corps.
But that effort of the corps’ commanding officer is being challenged by simple geography, and he is hoping to find his eventual replacement.
Osted, who has been the commanding officer for nine years, is no longer living in Hay River but still plans to drive here often to keep the corps functioning.
“I’m still the commanding officer and I’m going to continue to be the commanding officer as long as I can,” he said. “Basically, I’m going to be driving in and out from Fort Resolution whenever I can and whenever I am needed.”
Osted has relocated to Fort Resolution because his wife, Sherri Osted, is now a teacher at Deninu School.
And he works at Gahcho Kue diamond mine.
“What I’m looking for is somebody that would be interested in joining the Canadian Forces Reserves, like I did, and take over maybe not even the commanding officer part of it but the things that really require somebody to be there on a regular basis,” said Osted, who is a captain in the Cadet Instructors Cadre, the branch of the reserves with the task of teaching cadets.
The person he is looking for could teach some classes and help cadets get ready for classes.
“And I could be there as my job allows and as living here allows whenever that is possible,” he said by telephone from Fort Resolution. “I’d still be the commanding officer but just not have to be there every single time.”
Osted can’t envision someone stepping in immediately and becoming the commanding officer without some experience and some time being involved to understand how it all works.
“It wouldn’t be an overnight thing,” he said. “There are various training courses that you can go on. Some of them are mandatory, some of them are kind of optional. To get to be a captain, I think it takes you four years.”
Osted said someone who joins the Cadet Instructors Cadre would be paid by the Canadian Armed Forces.
“Every cadet corps has a minimum of five paid positions attached to it,” he said. “So I could have four other people fully trained and getting paid before I’d basically ran out of pay.”
Currently the Hay River Cadet Corps has one civilian instructor, who is also getting paid but who is not a member of the military.
A person must join the reserves to command the corps.
Osted started as an officer in the Cadet Instructors Cadre when he was 19 and he is now 43.
However, his involvement in the corps goes even further back, since he joined when he was 13.
The first night of the new training year for the Hay River Army Cadet Corps was Sept. 29, and Osted drove from Fort Resolution to register five new cadets and two returning cadets, with the possibility that two others may also join.
After the registration night was finished, he drove back to Fort Resolution.
Osted was asked how long he could continue as commanding officer considering the circumstances.
“That’s a really good question,” he said. “I think I’ll always be involved as long as I’m able to. But at some point if I move further away it’s going to be impossible. Driving in from Fort Resolution is not too bad of an evening but if I had to do it more than once or twice a week then it starts to add up to a lot of time on the road and a lot of time away.”