Local Army and Air Cadets had an exclusive look at one of the military's most prized possessions: the RCAF C130 Hercules. 

"We were lucky enough to be able to talk to the Air Force here and actually have them land here so that the kids could have a look at the aircraft and talk to the crew and the search and rescue technicians here," expressed Craig Bird, commanding officer of the #2901 Army Cadet Corps. 

The crew that was manning the aircraft was the 435 Squadron, which are based out of CFB Winnipeg. According to the Royal Canadian Air Force, they specialize in search and rescue operations all over North America. They were conducting training exercises and simulating scenarios at the Estevan Airport. The kids were treated with two rounds of search and rescue technicians (SaR-techs) skydiving from the C130 Hercules as it hovered above the municipal airport. Bird shared that the Air Force routinely trains in Estevan, so landing the plane and having the cadets see it up close was an easy sell. 

"When they came in here a while ago, the airport let me know that they came down here. They were stopping in for lunch so [we] had a chat with the air crew and just to see what the feasibility was of having them come down here to do this. After a little bit of negotiation and [...] bribing them with lunch, they agreed to come down and do this."

"It's always positive because we don't have a lot of military presence down here in the southeast. Anytime that we can actually get military aircraft and actual airmen come down here, it's a good bonus for the kids. It's something that they wouldn't normally get exposed to," Bird added. 

The kids were able to speak to the crew about their experiences while in action. They were also invited to try on the parachute and equipment packs the skydivers wear during their rescue operations. Captain Adam Rietman, Herc AC for the 435 Squadron, shared some of the conditions he's had to land in.

"Usually you're trying to beat a thunderstorm in, sometimes you're going to get those wicked west fronts up to 60 knots, gusting, and those can be some really challenging conditions. Other times it's really low visibility, those landings especially. Combined that with the crosswinds, you're not going to have as much visual reference to counteract that side drift or anything, so you really have to rely on your instruments to help you out and what you can see outside."

For Rietman, the landing of the C130 Hercules and having the cadets watch the crew train isn't just for the public to see where military spending goes. It's to help bolster the next generation of the Canadian military. He noted that military recruitment is dwindling. 

"There was a couple of instances in the past there that may have skewed public perception, but then other times we have these great turnouts, great rescues and high exposure that was really increased public preference which is nice. It's always great for recruitment to go around to these smaller communities [and] remind everyone, 'Hey! We're the military. We do positive in the world. It's not all just like pointing guns and stuff like that.' We do save Canadians as well. That's kind of why I got into it myself because I fell in love with search and rescue aspect of it." 

VIDEO: RCAF C130 Hercules Flies Above Estevan Airport, SaR-Techs Skydiving

"I was an Air Cadet myself. I joined as soon as I could. I didn't know what it was about or anything. I was just following a buddy and I fell in love with it instantly. [I] got my pilot's license through the Air Cadet program. Joined the military because of the Air Cadet program - pretty much set up beyond the track to who I am today when I turned 12 years old. So, it's crazy to see now as of 34 going on 35 to see the other kids in my position," Rietman expressed. 

Army and Air cadets join RCAF 435 Squadron during visit of C130 Hercules at Estevan Airport. Cadets joined the RCAF 435 Squadron and the C130 Hercules on the tarmac of the Estevan Municipal Airport. (Lemuel Alquino/DiscoverEstevan)