7928 Cajo Brando follows up and connects with three students

Ex Cadets connect with school children- #3 in a series

On Remembrance Day 2017, 7964 Don Bell (right) and 7530 Fletcher Thomson (left) (both Class of ’69) marched in the veterans’ contingent of the Ottawa parade. Upon dispersal, while they were on their way to the Veterans’ Lunch at the Chateau Laurier, a lady in the crowd gave each of them a letter written by a school child thanking them for their service, and asking questions about life in the Armed Forces. When they arrived at the lunch, they found more letters like these at their table.

After the lunch, Don noted that some of the letters had not been picked up. To avoid having the letters go unanswered, he canvassed classmates to write replies. Over the next few Issues, eVeritas will publish these letters and replies. Due to privacy and security concerns, only the students’ first names can be published.

We hope you enjoy reading the letters.


November 14th 2017

Dear Noah, Andrew, and William

It was a pleasure to get the very nice letter you wrote thanking our soldiers who fought for Canada.  My name is Cajo Brando and I joined the Royal Canadian Air Force as a pilot when I was 17 and served our country for 42 years.

I learned to fly airplanes in Air Cadets when I was a bit older than you are now and went to school at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, not very far from where you live in Peterborough.  I started in the Air Force teaching students how to fly on a little airplane called a “Chipmunk” and went on to fly many much bigger airplanes, even spy planes for a few years in Germany.

My favourite airplane was called the “Hercules”. It is a very large aircraft with four big propellers that can carry almost 100 soldiers or deliver 20 tons of cargo, anywhere in the world. We would fly all over the United States and Canada, including close to the North Pole, as well as Europe, South America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Often we would carry much needed food and relief supplies to help people in countries where they had problems like hurricanes, floods or earthquakes.

In the military I learned that everyone’s job was important and that we all had to work together and support each other to get things done. Most often our job was to help Canadians and people in other countries during times of peace, but we also train and practice to be fully ready if called upon in times of conflict.

Canada has often asked the men and women in the Army, Navy and Air Force to do what they have trained for. Each November the eleventh we remember everything they’ve done and sacrificed during the two World Wars and Korea, and we also honour the over 1800 Canadian Armed Forces members who lost their lives more recently in the line of duty.

I thank you for remembering them and I thank your teachers for telling you how important they were in safeguarding and defending our beliefs in this wonderful country called Canada.


Cajo Brando

Brigadier-General (Retired)

Ottawa, Ontario

Previous article in this series:


Ex Cadets connect with school children: 7964 Don Bell

Ex Cadets connect with school children: 7770 Michael Lawrance #2 in a series


  • Bob Morton

    January 22, 2018 at 11:43 am

    Caj … well done! Very nice of you to take the time to respond and enlighten these children, their classmates, parents and teachers.

  • Bob Banks

    January 22, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    Very nice letter.
    I was one of the student pilots taught by “Lieutenant” Cajo.
    Good to see you looking healthy and fit!

  • Bill & Anne Rector

    January 24, 2018 at 11:59 am

    Good letter Cajo which not only helps to further educate children but warms the heart to know that the military contribution is acknowledged and appreciated. Particularly by those so young, Well done!

  • Angus Turner

    January 29, 2018 at 4:56 am

    Just seeing this now Cajo, given that we are on the other side of the world. Reading your letter gives me a warm feeling in my heart. Well done!!! Angus

  • Philip Driskill, Lt Col, USAF, Ret.

    October 29, 2018 at 12:01 am

    Gen. Brando,
    You were my Squadron 2 Commander at GK, and I was your chief of surveillance. I lost track of your career after GK, but I wish you belated congratulations on your selection as Brig. Gen. I retired after 21 years. My last position was at Tinker, as the training squadron commander. NATO AWACS was one of the best assignments I ever had because of your leadership and the cordial international environment of airmen from different NATO nations. Best Wishes.