COLD LAKE – At Remembrance Day ceremonies across the country today, Canadians pause to remember those who have served, and continue to serve, our country.
For Captain Daniel Deluce, a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force stationed at CFB Cold Lake, Remembrance Day takes on special meaning for himself and his family.
“My grandpa was in the Air Force as well, he was a fighter pilot in World War II,” said Capt. Deluce. “If I can get airborne and go for a flight (on Remembrance Day), I will try to do that. That’s the best way for me to kind of put myself in my grandpa’s shoes.”
In fact, Remembrance Day this year holds special significance for Capt. Deluce because he recently received his grandfather’s service records.
“This year’s pretty cool. I’ve spent the last two years applying to get my grandpa’s records, and they just came in yesterday (November 5), so I got a little piece of history there,” said Capt. Deluce. “And my mom, her uncle was in the Army, and she just sent me a letter he had written to his girlfriend at the time. So, just finding ways to learn a bit more about what people were going through back then, and it is pretty interesting, and something very unique to those time periods.”
In addition to serving as a pilot for approximately 10 years, Capt. Deluce is also a part of the hockey community in Cold Lake, where the sport is a big part of life for not only himself, but for many individuals stationed at the base.
“Flying and playing hockey, it’s the two things I really like to do, so it’s nice to have the opportunity to do both,” Capt. Deluce said. “Normally, we have intramurals on the base, so between the different units, we’ll have hockey teams playing each other. That’s a nice way to just let loose a bit, and de-stress. Our jobs can be a little stressful sometimes.”
For Capt. Deluce, he is actively involved in the sport in several capacities. He plays in the intramural league at the base. He regularly dons the stripes, officiating in the intramural leagues, as well as games in the community. And he coaches – the CFB Cold Lake women’s team that competes at the national championship, and helping out with his daughter’s U7 team in Cold Lake.
“It’s a little difficult sometimes with our jobs, we deploy or we go away quite a bit,” he said. “So, I may not be able to be a full-time coach, but maybe an assistant coach is something I’d like to get involved in.”
For Capt. Deluce, hockey is a great way to get to know people in the community, and to unwind – especially with the stress that comes with flying high-performance airplanes.
“As an Officer, I play with a lot of the mechanics, and different support trades,” he said. “We’ll play against the Fire Hall and others, so you get to know people around the base as well, so it’s a bit of a networking thing. You might walk to your plane, and the person who’s helping you start, it’s like ‘oh, he was your right D the other night’, so it makes the squadron a little more personal.”
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Capt. Deluce said the squadron won’t necessarily be observing Remembrance Day in its traditional fashion.
“Usually, we’re having some sort of parade, so this year it might be a little different.” He said. “It might be more of the command team in a smaller ceremony laying wreaths.”
For Capt. Deluce, the key on November 11 is honouring not only those individuals who served in World War I or World War, but anyone who has served, and continues to serve our country.
“It doesn’t have to be WWI or WWII. There’s lots of things in between, or people currently serving, as well as any kind of front-line people. Especially this year with the pandemic, some of those people in the hospitals, or the first responders, those are going to be people you keep in mind.”