Volunteer, retired Canadian Submariner receives Diamond Jubilee medal

Local volunteer and retired navy chief Larry Skaalrud has been honoured with a new medal.

Skaalrud, 70, an Airdrie resident since 1996, received a Diamond Jubilee Medal on Nov. 27 during a ceremony at McDougall Centre in Calgary.

“It’s a feeling you just can’t explain,” said Skaalrud who said it was an honour to receive it.

He was nominated by members of the Submariners Association of Canada, an organization Skaalrud started in 1995.

Involved with the Canadian Navy for 32 years, Skaalrud said he and other submariners wanted a way to stay in touch.

During his time with the Navy, he worked on submarines. He said the longest trip he took underwater was 29 days from Victoria to Hawaii.

“You really get to know one another,” he said, explaining the organization is a way for everyone to remain connected years later.

He said inside the submarine about 74 officers would work together. Now, because of technology, less crewmen are needed – about 60. He said everyone worked together and knew how to man all aspects of the vessel.

After forming the submariner association in 1995, two other chapters have started up in Canada.

The association attends local memorial ceremonies and services, naval ceremonies, and provides financial assistance to veteran groups and area sea cadets.

It’s open to people qualified on submarines and hosts reunions, the most recent one four years ago, which allows former submariners to get together and remember their days together.

He also said new submariners are part of the organization as well.

He’s still involved with the association and recently toured the HMCS Ojibwa, Canada’ first Cold War submarine, now decommissioned and docked in Port Burwell Harbour, Ontario as the centrepiece for the new Museum of Naval History.

Skaalrud who grew up in Carsland, left when he joined the navy. He returned to his home province in 1996 and settled in Airdrie.

And once he arrived, Skaalrud immersed himself in the community here and worked eight years at the City of Airdrie as a utility technician.

He is a past president of the Airdrie Legion, a former member of Citizens on Patrol and helps with Ducks Unlimited. Currently, he is president of Airdrie Village Association, a group of local residents dedicated to maintaining the atmosphere of Airdrie’s downtown neighbourhoods.

The Diamond Jubilee Medal marks the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne.

The medal honours significant contributions and achievements by 60,000 Canadians.

Source – Airdrie City View

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