The cadets are set to graduate in Kingston, Ont., next week from the Royal Military College and plan to honor the four classmates who recently died on campus.
In the early morning hours of April 29, four cadets – Broden Murphy, Andrei Honciu, Jack Hogarth and Andrés Salek – died after their vehicle entered the St. Lawrence River off Point Frederick.
All the men were about to graduate and begin their officer careers.
The college’s spring convocation — only its second in-person graduation ceremony since the spring of 2020 — will take place with no capacity restrictions on May 19 at the Kingston Military Community Sports Center on campus.
Class members have submitted a request to recognize the four cadets who died at the ceremony and discussions continue to choose the best format, a college spokesperson said.
The college can also award degrees posthumously, but the school’s senate will meet to discuss “how best to honor the academic achievements of the four deceased cadets.”
“It’s easy to see yourself as these young people”
This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the Class of 1997 – a cohort that includes the father of deceased officer cadet Broden Murphy, according to the retired Royal Canadian Air Force Lt. Col. Andrew McCorquodale.
McCorquodale, the class secretary, said the fatal accident “will have an impact” and “there will be times to reflect”.
McCorquodale, who did not know Murphy personally, recently launched a crowdfunding effort to support his family.
“It’s easy to see yourself as these youngsters at the start of their careers and with so much to look forward to,” he said.
Cadets know the risks that service poses to their lives, McCorquodale said.
“No one expects an accident at school. That makes the challenge of coping with this tragedy all the greater.”
WATCH | A former RMC on the victims of fatal accidents:
Details on cause of death could take months
The independent arm of the military police, the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS), continues to investigate the circumstances of the cadets’ deaths, although it said investigators do not suspect foul play.
Ontario’s Office of the Chief Coroner said Monday that its efforts to determine each cadet’s cause and manner of death could take several months “depending on the number and types of tests that may be required.”
A spokesperson for the coroner also said the CFNIS will decide whether or not to release information about the death inquests as it is the lead agency in the case.
A follow-up administrative investigation intended to prevent another tragedy has already been confirmed by the Ministry of National Defense.