Today we say farewell to Cadet Executive Officer, Major Bernie Pagent, as he retires after an astounding 35 years of dedicated service with the Army Cadets.
Bernie's Army Cadet career began when he joined what was the then Gwynedd ACF in 1988 following 25 years of regular army service. He was commissioned in 1990 and appointed Cadet Executive Officer of the then-merged Clwyd and Gwynedd ACF in 2013. He has been awarded the Cadet Force Medal and three Clasps.
At the end of the recent summer camp, Bernie was presented with a Commandant's Coin, a prestigious symbol of recognition, reserved for those who have demonstrated exceptional service and dedication, by Commandant Colonel Martin L. Craven. Colonel Martin recounted Bernie's impressive journey and unwavering commitment to the cause of supporting future leaders. Throughout his long and illustrious career, Bernie had consistently shown his genuine care and concern for the cadets, ensuring they were nurtured to reach their full potential. However, the most touching tribute came from the heart of the cadets themselves. The youngest cadet on parade stepped forward with a specially crafted heart, symbolizing the love and admiration the cadets held for him.
After the parade Bernie was ceremoniously marched back into the camp, led by the corps of drums, with the entire route lined by cadets and adults.
After Summer Camp the pace did not stop with numerous meetings and reconciliations in preparation for the formal handover to his successor Vic Hughes.
Colonel Craven said, “Bernie's unwavering dedication has been the bedrock of the ACF, a pillar of support to Commandants throughout the years; his legacy will be a formidable standard to uphold. As he embarks on a richly earned retirement, he carries with him the well-wishes of all, a testament to the indelible mark he leaves behind."
Honorary Colonel Col Nick said “Congratulations to Major Bernie Pagent on an outstanding career of selfless service. He leaves behind a remarkable legacy. I wish him the very best for a long and well-deserved retirement.”
Colonel Cadets Wales LT Williams said “I first came across Bernie when I attended C&G as a service helper and was quickly taken by his knowledge and willingness to help anyone who asked. A few years later, on joining as Commandant Bernie was my right-hand man, realising that I was unfamiliar with the ways of the ACF he ensured that I didn’t drop too many clangers and that my most off-the-wall ideas were tempered with reality.
Bernie’s commitment is endless, any time of the day or night he will provide advice and assistance to any CFAV or parent who asks him. He is intensely loyal to both his Commandants and the organisation, a trait acquired by a lifetime of service to the Country.
When I moved on to Col Cadets in Brecon, Bernie continued to provide realistic advice in his understated manner again ensuring that our ideas were tempered with reality. Always accompanying his Commandant on Brigade events and despite having the furthest to travel was always there when asked. Nothing was too much trouble for him.”
Col LT added “The ACF in Wales without Bernie will seem very strange but all things come to an end and Bernie has given more than most. I wish him all the best in his retirement and hope that he can now spend some quality time with Alison without the phone interruptions.
Bernie has enriched my Cadet Experience and for that, I will always be grateful.”
Colonel (Retired) Nick Beard, former Clwyd and Gwynedd Honorary Colonel added “It is very difficult to recall when I first met Bernie; this may surprise you because I understand that most people never forget their first meeting with him such is his ability to make an impression! However, Bernie is one of those people who, especially in the Army Cadet world, make such a difference to everyone from the Commandant down to the most junior cadet because he cares.
As far as I recall I met Bernie after he left the Regular Army when he came to the 6th Cadet Battalion as Quartermaster. His dry sense of humour and general chit-chat on life not only made us laugh a lot but usually went on forever only drawing to a close when we all had to go back to the day job. Bernie was still the QM in Bethesda when I arrived as Chief Executive of the RFCA for Wales. We then had the amalgamation of the 4th and 6th Battalions. The sense of humour was still there together with the stories and more. However, what struck me was his loyalty and commitment to the Association and particularly to the cadets. It has been my pleasure to work with him for almost 19 years and consider him to be enormously experienced, competent, and for most of the time amenable.”
We all wish Bernie a long and happy retirement.