History

570 Squadron formed as the #570 Indian Residential squadron on April 20th, 1953; the squadron at that time was under the command of F/Lt Vic Fowler, who was a veteran of World War 2. The squadron paraded at that time on an Indian Residential settlement near St. Albert.

This period in the squadron’s existence was relatively short lived, as around 1960 the squadron moved into Edmonton and paraded at the Prince of Wales Armories near Kingsway Avenue. From this period until about 1974, 570 Squadron was under the command of Captain George Webber. Many future commanding officers of 570 got their start in 570 as cadets during this period including Morgan Neff, Sherry Lesyk and Len Babiuk. The squadron at this time was known as 570 (Edmonton) squadron.

During the term of the units third commanding officer (Captain Ron Bradley) the squadron moved to the Kapyong Armories on then-CFB Edmonton (Griesbach) a location it would parade in for nearly twenty-five years, from 1976 until 2001. It was in this period that the squadron began its long-standing affiliation with the Army, Navy & Airforce (Sir Winston Churchill) Unit #3, and officially changed its name to Sir Winston Churchill squadron in honor of the veterans unit as well as the famous British prime minister.

During the terms of the squadron’s fourth and fifth commanding officers (Captain Morgan Neff and Major Sherry Lesyk) the squadron grew tremendously in size (from about 40 cadets in 1987 to almost 140 in 1991, a parade state it has not equaled since) taking advantage of the unit’s central position within the Castle Downs community and close proximity to the base at CFB Edmonton (Namao). The unit was named Most Improved Squadron as well as Best Squadron in Alberta during this period. Finally, it was in October 1987 under the command of Captain Neff that the squadron began its long and ongoing affiliation with 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron.

During the command of Major Lesyk and her successors Major Len Babiuk (sixth unit CO) and Major Dan Mathes (seventh unit CO), the unit undertook three major spring break trips to the west coast, Seattle in 1989, Vancouver and Victoria in 1991, Seattle in 1993. The squadron was once again recognized as Best Squadron in Alberta during this period. Most recently there was a spring break trip to San Diego in 2010 and in 2017 the squadron traveled across the pond to London and France for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

Under the command of the eighth unit CO, Captain Robert Whitley, the squadron undertook the partial restoration of a glider, a project that consumed a great deal of the squadron’s resources and time during this period. This project however concluded after Captain Whitley’s departure from the unit in the spring of 1999. To close out the squadron’s final years at Kapyong, Captain Roger Scott and Major Lorri Lautt served as the ninth and tenth unit commanding officers in the 1999-2001 timeframe.

Due to the closure of CFB Edmonton (Griesbach) in the summer of 2001 the squadron moved to its current location at Brigadier James Curry Jefferson Armoury in the summer of 2001. That fall, command passed from Major Lautt to Captain David Goldingay (11th unit CO) who would serve in that role until June 2005. This time period in the squadron’s history was tremendously challenging due to major losses in the staff as well as the cadet population.

Unlike all other past commanding officers of the unit who retired from the CCO at the end of their terms, at the end of his term Captain Goldingay was encouraged to stay on and support the incoming 12th Commanding Officer (Captain Andrew MacLeod) in a different and ongoing role and served in various capacities under the 13th and 14th commanding officers (Captain Deborah Smart & Captain Tami Marchinko) until the spring of 2012. The squadron has prospered under the command of Captain’s Smart and Marchinko, maintaining a parade state of 40-50 cadets as well as a focused and well integrated staff.

In June 2012 Captain Marchinko, after serving only one year as the commanding officer transferred command of the unit back to Captain Goldingay (who is the only officer ever to serve in this role twice in the squadron’s history). Captain Marchinko and her family have moved to Manitoba as her husband continues his career as a helicopter pilot instructor in the Canadian Forces.

Captain Goldingay has to date served 26 consecutive years as a member of 570 Sir Winston Churchill (1986-2012); he and Major Mathes (who served 22 years as a cadet and staff member) are perhaps the longest serving members of 570 in the unit’s long and proud history.

The squadron has to date completed 65 years of training young men and women in the Edmonton area.