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FLYING THE FLAG Ex-Cadet is Hawk Solo Display Pilot

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this issue:

TEAMBUILDING Tackling Ten Tors together

Re-live the Battle of Britain - 70 Years On

Rugby Star kicks off Cadet150 in Scotland

Managing Editor Denise Parker Housby email Editor Carol McCombe email Sales Manager Anthon Linton, Ten Alps Media Tel: 020 7306 0300 Design Steve J Davies Air Media Centre, HQ Air Command

SURVEY OF ATTITUDES Cadets and staff tell it like it is in the ACO’s latest survey

Every care has been taken in the preparation of this magazine, but the ACO cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of the information herein, or any consequence arising from it. Views expressed by contributors and customers might not reflect the views of the ACO.

AIR CADET XTRA Is Sponsored By:

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Adult Analysis A total of 720 adult volunteers – almost 70% of them uniformed - took part in the 2009 survey of cadet and adult volunteers’ attitudes, giving an interesting insight into the grass roots of the Organisation.

The Results Are In What Do You Think Of The ACO

Cadets and staff tell it like it is in the ACO’s comprehensive survey of cadet and adult volunteers’ attitudes. As the Air Cadet Organisation celebrates 150 years of the Cadet movement, the most recent national survey of cadet and adult volunteers’ attitudes gives an interesting insight into life in the ACO today.

Initial Incentives



Being A Volunteer

Adult volunteers were asked to rank their reasons for joining, from highest to lowest.













Almost one in two adult volunteers say their current administrative workload is too high, but 97% said they enjoy being an ATC instructor.

97% are proud to be an instructor

Happy Campers

85% feel valued by their unit

Adults were asked how they felt about their place in the ACF, as well as the support available.

60% feel valued by the ATC

Finding Future Leaders

60% are happy with the support they receive from their RAF parenting station

65% of ATC staff were formerly cadets.

55% are happy with the support they receive from their affiliated RAF Squadron

Learning The Ropes Are adult volunteers happy with the amount of training they receive?

Gp Capt John Lawlor, Chief of Staff at HQAC explains: “Most of us believe we know what cadets and volunteers think and like; what made them chose to join the ACO and what encourages them to stay.

Civilian instructors



46% yes

97% yes

88% yes

35% neutral

3% neutral

8% neutral

Questions focused on three areas of the ACO experience – joining up, being part of the ACO and future intentions. The findings suggest that while there is plenty to celebrate, there are still areas that could be improved.

“But for our opinions to be accurate and valid, we need to have sampled a large number of cadets and volunteers selected at random. We need to ask objective and scientifically structured questions, and the cadets and volunteers should be able to give their answers anonymously so we assess what they really think, not what they think a senior officer might want to hear.”

Quality Control

Your views are vitally important to the ACO and will help shape the future of the Organisation that is seeking to increase cadet numbers to 50,000 by 2018.

Here, we present the key findings and ask what they mean for cadets, for adult volunteers and for the future of the Air Cadet Organisation.

The survey, carried out late last year, was compiled by a team of psychologists from HQ Air Command. A cross-section of cadets and volunteers from large and small counties, rural and urban areas across the United Kingdom were questioned.


4% no

19% no

Are they happy with the standard of training they receive? Civilians



49% yes

98% yes

96% yes

37% neutral

2% neutral

4% neutral

14% no

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Short 50%Staffed

Don’t Forget The Paperwork 57% think that paperwork makes the job less enjoyable

50% think that ATC squadrons need more adult volunteers.

Most are happy with the standard and amount of training they receive and believe they have the right level of responsibility for their abilities, while around half of you said their ATC experiences help them in their day job and that equally employers value your involvement with the ATC. Helping young people and the opportunity ‘to give something back’ were prime motivators for adult volunteers joining the Corps. Many instructors said they could devote adequate time to being an instructor, although almost three quarters said they always or sometimes had difficulty meeting their ATC commitments, mostly because of work commitments.

1/2 Of Perks The Job

Despite the positive feedback, there are some issues that have the potential to reduce motivation and enjoyment. Administration, staffing levels and legislation are high on the agenda for uniformed staff.

More than half of you think that your ATC experience has helped in your current job.

Adult Analysis Round Up Adult volunteers feel very positive about their role and are firmly committed to their squadrons. Almost all staff reported that they enjoyed being an ATC instructor and that they were proud to be an instructor.

This may well lead to morale and retention problems, especially if there are recruiting shortfalls. Recommendations include a work-load review and re-distribution of administrative tasks – the ATC does not want to take the goodwill of adult volunteers for granted.

Cadet Analysis A total of 518 completed questionnaires were received from cadets, revealing what they think of the Corps – and what could be done better!

85% AEF

Appealing Activities

79% Shooting

Cadets selected which of the activities on offer first motivated them to join the ATC.

77% Gliding 69% Adventure training 69% DofE 60% Fieldcraft 52% Sport 51% Leadership training 44% First Aid 20% Citizenship

1st 2nd

Self-confidence Self-motivation/discipline

Corps Values



Senior cadets were asked to rank from highest to lowest what personal skills improved most during their time in the Corps.



Looking Forward 75% of air cadets have

already decided which career path they would like to follow.



Sense of responsibility


Ability to communicate


Value of friendship


Commitment to others


Trust in others

YesYes, Yes, Yes


And their least favourite

Cadets were asked to rate their top three favourite activities

Drill Aircraft Recognition learning about aircraft

AEF Gliding Shooting

Military In Mind 72% are considering a military career

Cadets value recruiting visits, especially formal presentations.

70% wanted more visits to RAF bases and more opportunities to meet RAF personnel.

Cadet Analysis Round Up The survey’s findings clearly show that cadets thoroughly enjoy the adventure and opportunities the ATC has to offer. Significantly, 80% said that at the time they joined, there were no other clubs or organisations that appealed to them. This suggests the ATC is able to offer young people something which they cannot find elsewhere. The fact that AEF, gliding and shooting are the most popular activities

No, No, No

supports this, although the non-military activities such as sport and adventure training continue to be very popular. Although there is evidence that some cadets have not yet had the opportunity to take part in the activities that attracted them to join the ATC, three quarters of cadets reported having an AEF – that’s up 10% on the previous survey in 2004 – and just over 55% have been gliding – that’s an increase of 5% since the 04 survey. It is obvious from the survey that maintaining the unique selling point of the ATC will be vital to improving cadet numbers and is key to influencing cadets’ career choices. To this end continued access to RAF bases, work experience opportunities and RAF recruiting staff is essential. Furthermore, there should be ample opportunities for all – especially for younger, junior cadets – to take part in the key activities such as flying, gliding, shooting and adventure training, which are rated by cadets as amongst the most appealing and enjoyable.

Sport Athletics, swimming and football are the most popular sports.

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Walk In The Park Biting winds and showers failed to dampen celebrations on Dartmoor, as His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh visited Okehampton Camp to mark the 50th anniversary of Ten Tors.

The Army-run event is one of the biggest adventure challenges for young people in Britain today. It sets 2,400 youngsters between the ages of 14 and 19 the challenge of trekking 35, 45 or 55 miles (56, 72 or 89km) across the unforgiving terrain of Dartmoor. The 400 teams of six had just 34 hours to complete their routes, which start and finish at Okehampton Camp. As part of the challenge, the teams had to be entirely selfsufficient. They had to navigate across miles of open moor and camp out overnight. They also had to carry all of their food, water, tents and other essentials needed for the trek. To mark the historic 50th anniversary milestone, The Duke of Edinburgh, patron of the Ten Tors Challenge, visited the event to congratulate the finishers and those who have volunteered to help run it over the years.

air cadet xtra Brigadier Steve Hodder, Commander of 43 (Wessex Brigade) and Director of Ten Tors, said: “Over the past 50 years, tens of thousands of young people from across the South West and beyond have taken part in Ten Tors, leaving lasting memories and an appreciation of the beauty of Dartmoor which is never forgotten. “I took part in Ten Tors as a Combined Cadet Force cadet from Exeter School, completing the 35-mile route twice and finishing the 45-mile route early on a Sunday morning in 1975. I learnt that with determination and thorough preparation and training, anything was possible.” The challenge started at 0700hrs on Saturday 8 May with blank rounds fired from field guns provided by Bristol-based 266 (Commando) Battery Royal Artillery (Volunteers) and a flypast by two Sea Kings from 848 Naval Air Squadron. A great roar went up as the 397 teams who made it to the start line, including air cadets from more than 50 squadrons and CCF(RAF) Sections, careered past their families and friends and off into the cloud-covered hills, despite carrying up to a third of their bodyweight on their backs. Also on Saturday, 250 less able-bodied youngsters - many in wheelchairs or on special tricycles - finished the Jubilee Challenge, having covered distances of eight

to 15 miles (13 to 24km) on tracks or across the open moor. Later, on Saturday evening, adult volunteers whose dedicated support has helped to keep the Ten Tors Challenge alive over the years were presented with unique gold, silver and bronze Ten Tors medals to thank them for their efforts. By early Sunday morning, several teams were close to the finish. The first two Ten Tors teams crossed the finish line at Okehampton Camp at 0737hrs on the Sunday morning. A steady stream of red-faced youngsters followed. The finishing gates were then finally closed at 1700hrs with 372 teams having completed the challenge. Amongst them were teams from 1011 (Amesbury) Sqn. Cadet Team leaders Daniel Emms and Peter Chapman were jubilant. They said: “It was fantastic but tiring. It’s great getting a team over the course - it’s an experience that will be difficult to beat.” Team Manager, Owen Taylor, was overwhelmed with excitement. He said: “In over 25 years of experience with the Air Cadets, never have I been so proud. “The cadets have been remarkable and fully committed to this challenge, getting the medals is the icing on the cake, not only for the arduous

challenge during this weekend but for the amount of hard work they have put in since December when training began.”

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Against The Odds Four disabled cadets from 2160 (Sleaford) Sqn have fought against the odds to complete their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition in North Yorkshire. The team of four consisted of two wheelchair users - Cdt Greg Johnson and Cdt Cpl Carl Blackman, both 17, and CWO Marc Blackman, 19 and Adult Sergeant Jason Beaumont, 22, who both took the challenge on foot. An uphill task was made even more taxing as the cadets had to plan the four day expedition themselves. Each day consisted of eight hours planned activity, four hours of which were spent journeying. It all took place on the North Yorkshire Moors, with routes taking the team through the challenging terrain of Dalby Forest, across to the idyllic surroundings of Pickering, before finishing in the village of Hutton-leHole. On the last day the group was met by Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore Ian Stewart, who walked with the team up the final hill of the expedition. Impressed by the willpower of the group, he said: “The motivation and perseverance shown by these Cadets exemplifies the qualities needed of young people today and is a true inspiration to us all.” Every Duke of Edinburgh Award qualifying expedition must have an overall aim. The Sleaford team decided that their aim would focus on “Disabled and less-abled access in the North Yorkshire Moors”. They videoed themselves passing through various gates and crossing rough terrain in the area, making notes of all the good and bad points along their route.

air cadet xtra The expedition was assessed by Sqn Ldr Gordon McElroy, a qualified Gold assessor for the North Yorkshire Moors Panel and WgAdO for Central and East Yorkshire Wing. He said: “The team was the best I have ever assessed. Above all they were determined and cheerful throughout the expedition.”

Lesotho Explorers Get Royal Surprise

Flt Lt Mel Walker, CO of 2160 Sleaford Sqn said: “The team was amazing, I am very proud of them. It was a challenging expedition but they stayed upbeat throughout.”

In preparation for the expedition in July, the cadets gathered together for three days in Wales to receive briefings about their destination and take part in some field training. But for half the cadets, the field prep took on an added dimension as they turned up at their final rendezvous point on a hill to be greeted by HRH Prince Harry! The Prince then walked in to base with them to greet the other cadets. The 60 cadets will be spending more than half their time during the threeweek trip working alongside Prince Harry’s charity Sentebale to improve orphanages and help underprivileged children.

Prior to the qualifying expedition the cadets had undertaken two practice expeditions – one across Sleaford, Lincolnshire and the second in the Peak District and, after their first practice expedition, it was clear that the two standard wheelchairs would not be able to cope with the North Yorkshire terrain. The team decided to approach leading company RGK Wheelchair manufacturers who lent them two ‘Jungle Chairs’ for the all-important qualifying expedition. The chairs, which are designed to cross the most challenging terrain, were fitted with four mountain bike-type wheels and disc brakes on the front wheels to offer more manoeuvrability across the rough and muddy ground in Yorkshire. A local businessman also agreed to service the wheelchair brakes between expeditions and supply spare inner tubes for the team to take with them on the expedition in case of punctures. The qualifying expedition is just one part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award. To complete the Gold award the group also had to complete Skill, Volunteering, Physical and Residential activities. Cdt Cpl Carl Blackman completed his Gold award following the qualifying expedition. As a skill he completed his Staff classification within Air Cadets, which also gained him a BTEC in Aviation. For his volunteering section he mentored new cadets on the squadron and achieved the rank of Corporal. Sgt Jason Beaumont also completed his Gold award, taking part in activities such as driving lessons, circuit training and summer camps. Any young person aged between 14 and 24 can do a programme at one of three progressive levels, which when successfully completed, lead to a Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.

DofE Online Cadets can now log on to monitor their DofE progress, with the help of a trained leader. The new system known as ‘eDofE’ should encourage them to manage their information online. From their own personal page they will be able to read news, upload evidence to show that they have completed each section and access new resources. A significant number of cadets are already recording their progress online and the plan is to roll it out to all Wings over the next two years.

Rugby Star Kicks Off Cadet150

Cadets preparing for a Cadet150 expedition to Lesotho this summer had their training session interrupted by the arrival of a very special guest.

Going For Gold As expedition season for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award approaches, instructors and squadrons across the UK are finalising plans to help cadets who will be working towards their Awards this summer. This year, the annual joint Cadet Forces exercise to Bavaria for activities to qualify in the DofE Gold Expedition section is being rebranded in keeping with Cadet150 celebrations. A group of 35 candidates, including 17 air cadets, and a smaller number of leaders will take part in what will be the 21st such trip. In total, more than 330 young people have taken up the opportunity.

Cadet Charlotte Wilkinson-Burnett, 17, from 1181 (Syston) Sqn was thrilled to meet the Prince and asked him to sign the plaster cast on her broken arm. She had broken her wrist playing hockey but now said she would keep the autograph as a souvenir. The Prince had signed “Get well soon, Harry” for Charlotte who says she will keep the cast in a glass case. Meeting Harry makes us all want to get out there to make a change.” Prince Harry said he was “truly honoured” to be patron of the South African trip. He told the cadets: “You will really enjoy it, it will be a hell of an adventure.”

Once in Bavaria, cadets will undertake a day’s walk in the area before deciding what route they will follow on their fourday qualifying expedition.

They will have full use of the College’s boating and diving opportunities, as well as undertaking DofE leadership modules during the week-long course, which will enable the cadets to help deliver the DofE to other cadets in their squadrons. And just to make the course an experience they will always remember, the cadets- 50 of whom will be Air Cadets - will arrive at the College on board the RFA Argus, sailing from Portsmouth.

Each of the participating cadets had to raise up to £1,000 to help fund the cost of the trip, which takes place from 24 July to 18 August. 17-year old Emily Foreshaw, from 472 Squadron, is one of the cadets selected for the expedition. She said she was inspired to take part by her grandmother Barbara, who has spent time helping orphans in South Africa: “I’ve always wanted to go out and see for myself,” she said. “It may be the biggest challenge I ever face and Prince Harry’s visit has made me all the more determined to make a difference.”

Red 6, Flt Lt Mike Ling, who will not be completing this year’s display season because of injury, said: “I was an air cadet at 2427 (Biggin Hill) Sqn from the week after my 13th birthday until a month after my 19th birthday, when I left to begin RAF Initial Officer Training. I reached the rank of Cadet Warrant Officer before I left.

Additionally, they will be offered the opportunity to take part in a Teamwork Skills Course, which is part of the DofE’s Leadership Training Framework. Meanwhile, plans are taking shape for the Tri-Service DofE camp in August, which will involve 150 Gold Award cadets, including a group from the Cayman Islands, gathering at Dartmouth’s Royal Naval College.

The Prince continued: “But when times are really, really bad, keep your chin up and look around you, look to your left, look to your right, not just at the people in your group but the people you have met. Once you meet them your lives will be very, very different because you will have an understanding of the way people have to live out there.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed my entire time as a cadet and was involved heavily in all the activities the Corps had to offer.

Red Arrows Support Cadet150

The Red Arrows, has added its support to the Cadet150 celebrations. Some 40 cadets from squadrons all over the UK visited the team at RAF Scampton to celebrate 150 years of the cadet movement. The cadets – all talented musicians on a week’s detachment to RAF Cranwell - had the chance to meet the Red Arrows’ pilots and engineers, and have a tour of the world-famous display team’s aircraft. They also had an official photograph taken with the pilots as a keepsake of their visit. Many Red Arrows began their flying careers as air cadets.

“When I started my Initial Officer Training the fact that I had been a cadet meant that I had a rough idea about life in the RAF and it helped me get to grips quickly with some of the military aspects, especially drill. I am very proud of my association with the air cadets.” Sqn Ldr Ben Murphy, Red 1, Officer Commanding and Team Leader of the Red Arrows, said: “We are delighted to be celebrating 150 years of this fantastic movement. The Cadet Forces offer such great opportunities for thousands of young people across the UK.”

Cadets from all four forces joined together in welcoming rugby superstar Gavin Hastings to the opening celebrations of Cadet150 in Scotland. Climbing, flying, sailing, music, First Aid and sport were all showcased at the Glasgow Science Centre. Hastings, who is the Honorary Colonel of Lothian and Borders Battalion, joined more than 175 VIPs, including senior members of the Armed Forces, to see the full range of activities available to cadets today, and to discover how the Cadet Forces are helping young people across the country to develop and earn qualifications. He said: “I firmly believe that the cadet organisations are excellent for young people who wish to develop the life skills that they need to make the most of their lives.” Air Cadet Lucy Scudder said: “Being a cadet is great. There are so many opportunities. You can do lots of different things such as adventure training. “Before I became a cadet, I didn’t have a lot of confidence, but now I am able to walk into a room full of people and I’m fine.” Brigadier David Allfrey, who commands the Army Cadet Force in Scotland, paid tribute to the movement’s volunteers. He said: “Around 400 officers and 700 adult instructors help our young people make the most of their potential and widen their interests, skill and characters towards becoming more successful citizens.”

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Praise For Cadet Movement Adult volunteers in the Cadet Forces have received recognition at the highest level, after the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Personnel) delivered a personal message of thanks for all their hard work and commitment.

Armed Forces Day Preparations are well underway for this year’s Armed Forces Day on Saturday 26 June when it’s hoped thousands of people will show their support for all those in the Armed Forces community past, present and future, including serving troops, Service families, cadets and veterans.

Flying The Flag The 2010 Royal Air Force solo Hawk Display is flown by former cadet, Flt Lt Tom Saunders, a Qualified Flying Instructor (QFI) from No. 208 (R) Squadron, 4FTS RAF Valley. Flt Lt Saunders, who was a member of the CCF at Reigate Grammar School in Surrey, is scheduled to attend over 45 air shows in front of an estimated five million spectators this summer. The special paint scheme which has been applied to the two display aircraft celebrates 50 years since the formation of Number 4 Flying Training School at RAF Valley. Since 1960, RAF Valley has been home to the sole advanced flying training school for fast jet pilots from which students move on to their front line Operational Conversion Units.

Awarded both an RAF sixth form and flying scholarship, Flt Lt Saunders completed his Private Pilot’s Licence aged 17 and completed further training to become a civilian flying instructor two years later.

Between 1999 and 2004, Tom flew over 3,500 hours in Europe and the Caribbean on a variety of different types including business jets and turbo props. He chose to pursue a military flying career and began Initial Officer Training at Royal Air Force Cranwell in 2004. Following Elementary Flying Training on the Grob Tutor with Yorkshire Universities Air Squadron at RAF Church Fenton he was selected for fast jet training on the Tucano and Hawk aircraft. In between flying courses, Tom spent 10 months with the RAF Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows, working in the Public Relations department whilst flying in the

Snap to it! The Royal Air Force Museum has launched a national photography competition as part of its calendar of activities to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. It’s inviting members of the public to send in photographs taken at various Battle of Britain events that will be taking place around the country this summer. Paul Hudson, Head of Marketing, at the Royal Air Force Museum said: “During the course of the summer,organisations who are part of the Royal Air Force Family, will be holding a series of events, ranging from air shows to historic weekends, in order to commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of those members of the Royal Air Force who fought so hard to protect our freedom during the summer of 1940.

back seats during display practices wherever possible! Following completion of Advanced Flying Training at RAF Valley, Anglesey he was selected for instructional duties and remained on 208 Sqn where he currently works teaching RAF and Royal Navy student pilots to fly the Hawk. After the 2010 Display season, Tom will commence Tactical weapons training on 19(F) Squadron and hopes to fly the Typhoon on his next tour.

“The Museum would like members of the public who are attending such events to help us document this summer’s commemorative activities by submitting their photographs via the Museum website so that we may create an electronic archive of this year’s events for future generations.” To participate in this competition, all that people have to do is to attend one of the 70th anniversary events listed on the Royal Air Force’s website, and then send their best images online to the Museum. The competition is open to all UK residents and has two categories; one for best image taken by a child and one for best image taken by an adult. Prizes will be awarded for each winning photograph with each image being displayed at the Museum as part of the Museum’s annual RAF Photographic Competition Exhibition in January 2011. For more information, please visit

At the MOD Youth Conference, held at the MOD’s Main Building in Whitehall, Vice Admiral Peter Wilkinson, said: “I would like to personally thank all the adult volunteers that give their time and effort to run their units, training activities and camps. “Without them we would not have Cadet Forces or be providing the 130,000 young people currently involved with an opportunity to develop so many skills.

Air Vice-Marshal Murray, Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff (Personnel), said: “Armed Forces Day is a fantastic opportunity for the nation to show its support for the men and women of Britain’s Armed Forces.

“Their work is always appreciated, but as this year is the 150th anniversary of the cadet movement I think that it is important that we highlight the work they do.”

“This day is not just about serving personnel, it is a celebration of everyone who is involved with the Armed Forces; their families, veterans and cadets. I would encourage everyone in the UK to get behind our Forces and take part in one of the many events taking place across the country.”

His words were echoed by Kevan Jones, the former Under Secretary of State for Defence and Minister for Veterans, who praised the cadet movement as well as the role of the adult volunteers.

Across the county people are getting involved; communities are holding local events and businesses are showing their support. On the day itself, the national event will be held in Cardiff, but many more events are being held around the country.

He said: “The cadet movement is an integral part of our national fabric. The experiences of our youth shape the kind of adult we become. I am always hugely impressed by the personal qualities of the soldiers, sailors and airmen I meet when visiting our Armed Forces around the country and abroad.

A variety of famous names have already signed up to support the day, including ‘Forces’ Sweethearts’ Dame Vera Lynn and Katherine Jenkins, stars such as Ray Winstone and Jason Statham, the manager of the England rugby union team, Martin Johnson, and the England World Cup football team. Famous veterans Dame Kelly Holmes and Andy McNab are also showing their support.

“These are also the qualities that the Cadet Forces teach, and they include courage and confidence, self-reliance and self-discipline, and leadership and teamwork, which can’t always be taught in the classroom or at home.”

Double Success

“Its aim was to broaden understanding of the cadet movement among charities, other youth organisations and local authorities – all of which had representatives in the audience – and to reinforce relationships with other government departments.

Cadets from 234 (City of Durham) Sqn have been awarded the prestigious Chaplain’s Challenge Cup as well as being graded as a top-performing unit after a recent inspection. The Sqn was awarded the Cup thanks to their work in the community, raising funds for local charities such as the RNLI and a local hospital unit. CO, Flt Lt Liz Marwood, said: “We are delighted to have won this Award. Our cadets enjoy supporting community events, and it is fantastic that their work has been recognised in this way.”

The conference’s theme was ‘Young People – an alternative pathway to success (How cadets contribute to society)’.

The MOD called on those present to see what the Cadet Forces can do for their individual organisations. It also urged them to work together in order to achieve common goals and help to give young people the full cadet experience.

Hard Work Rewarded Ten lucky air cadets spent the day with the Red Arrows in Cyprus - thanks to a special trip organised by the Royal Air Forces Association. The cadets, all from different squadrons within Central & East Wing, were selected to go on the expedition to RAF Akrotiri because of their hard work and outstanding achievements. The cadets had a great day meeting the pilots and engineers – many of whom are former air cadets – and got the chance to watch one of the pre-season practices from cliffs overlooking the sea. Afterwards, they were invited to sit in on the debrief, during which time the cadets had a rare chance to find out, first-hand, based on the pilots’ own rigorous analysis of video footage, how the Red Arrows reach the extraordinary level of skill seen during each display season. Other highlights of the trip to RAF Akrotiri included visits to Air Traffic Control, the Dog Section and the chance to play sport with cadets from the local ATC Squadron (No.1 Overseas). BELOW: Cadets with Gp Capt John Bessell, Station Commander RAF Akrotiri, in front of the Lightning Gate Guardian

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Sound Of Success Fort Blockhouse at Portsmouth was recently home to more than 80 Air Cadets for a week of musical training. The cadets - all members of the ACO’s National Marching Band were beginning preparations for a number of high profile performances that will take place in 2010. Instruction was provided by ACO personnel as well as top Royal Marine Musicians. As a break from the musical activities cadets also enjoyed flying, shooting and other, more traditional, camp activities. Cdt Jessica Garrod from 452 (Hornchurch) Sqn, said: ““The week-long camp was absolutely amazing working with so many different people and their many musical talents. The standard was extremely high, it was a hard week but the effort we all put in paid off at our final performance. The staff who ran the camp and helped out were very good and we couldn’t have had a better team.” Cdt Cpl Rachel Miller from 1404 (Chatham) Sqn added: “National Marching Band wasn’t for the unco-ordinated – it was a challenge! However, the overall week was such an achievement. The cadets attained so much in just a week and the final performance was wonderful- it was such a privilege to perform in front of that audience alongside such accomplished musicians.” The cadets played musical pieces such as the RAF March Past, Aces High, The Battle of Britain March and Hymn to the Fallen. Personnel at Fort Blockhouse were full of praise for the youngsters having heard them rehearse throughout the week. Sqn Ldr Nick Sermon, the ACO’s Director of Music for Marching Bands, said: “The cadets all pulled together tremendously and put on a stunning display.”

The band’s first public performance this year was at the RAF Museum at Hendon, North London. In front of Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore Ian Stewart, RAF and an enthusiastic audience of museum visitors the band played two 30 minute sets. Following the successful performance, Air Commodore Stewart said: “I was delighted to witness the most wonderful performance of our Marching Band. The hard work and determination of all those involved during their weeklong camp in Portsmouth showed through two magnificent displays which I thoroughly enjoyed. “The level of support from the assembled crowds (with guests from as far as North Berwick) makes me very proud in the knowledge that the Band can continue to go from strength to strength, and in doing so can continue be the true world class marching band it has become established as.” After the performances the ACO’s Principal Director of Music, Sqn Ldr Gil Singleton, was left speechless when the Commandant promoted him “in the field” to Wing Commander. Wg Cdr Singleton said: “I am absolutely speechless at the promotion. The award is due to the effort put in by the cadets and the strong support that I have received from the fantastic team of volunteers at my disposal. Based on what has happened recently, we can look forward to a continued improvement in the quality of ACO music.” Wg Cmdr Singleton joined the ACO following a successful career as an RAF musician, retiring as Bandmaster of the prestigious RAF Central Band.

Both the Marching Band and Concert Band have prestigious performances booked for 2010 including a parade through Central London in support of Cadet 150 and performances on the main stage at the Royal International Air Tattoo. Further performances are also in the pipeline.

Cadet Send-Off For Ark Royal During their busy week at Fort Blockhouse, the National Marching Band of the Air Training Corps gave their own musical salute to HMS Ark Royal as she left Portsmouth to lead a series of multi-national exercises in the North and West Atlantic. The deck of HMS Ark Royal was lined on both sides by sailors and her Commanding Officer, Captain John Clink, saluted as the ship got close to the band, who rounded off the musical salute with three rousing cheers and a wish of good speed and a safe journey. Images: Richard Pallett, Civilian Instructor of 267 (Twickenham) Sqn

On Top Of The World Ex-Cadets Conquer Everest Former cadets Matt Snook and Pete Sunnucks have overcome all the odds to conquer Mount Everest. For Matt especially, a former CWO with 2358 (Ferndown) Sqn, his dream of standing on top of the world looked to be in tatters just weeks ago when he was taken ill and airlifted away from Base Camp for emergency treatment. But the 24-year-old Royal Marine Reservist, who was thought to be suffering from pneumonia and altitude-related illnesses, battled back to fitness to reach the summit. Matt and Pete, also an ex-CWO with Ferndown Sqn, were inspired to take on the challenge in memory of friend and fellow cadet Lieutenant John Thornton, who was killed in Afghanistan in March 2008, aged 22. Despite being separated on the final push to the summit, Matt and Pete conquered the world’s highest mountain together. Describing in his blog the moment they made it, Matt says: “Somehow I’d come within a few minutes of him. He turned, looked, smiled

and simply pointed at me... I pointed back! We simply could not believe it! Without any planning we’d managed to simultaneously complete the climb together – there must have been someone watching over us.” Pete also describes the momentous occasion: “The last few steps to the summit are completely indescribable for both of us. Complete sensory overload. The view, the pride, the elation, nothing could have prepared us for what we felt as we began to realise that we had achieved the dream, and we had achieved it together. Awesome. “This was our moment and we were loving it! Everything was forgotten – the pain, the hardship, the endurance, the suffering, the fear – and it was replaced by this beautiful, beautiful moment knowing that we were stood higher than anyone else in the world.” The pair, who met on the tough Air Cadets Junior Leaders’ Course, took on the challenge in aid of Help For Heroes and The John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation, a charity set up by JT’s parents following his death. The Foundation aims to encourage young achievers, providing annual scholarships and bursaries to help people

fulfil their ambitions. In a poignant moment at the summit, the climbers placed a JTYAF and a Help for Heroes wrist band at the top as well as a Junior Leaders DZ flash. On the ascent Matt dismissed any thoughts that he may not make it following his illness. He wrote: “It had been a real struggle to get back to the team, to get re-acclimatised and to put myself in with a chance, just a chance of getting to the summit. I had to be realistic, it seemed unlikely that my body would be able to manage this; it would have been easy to settle for what I had reached already and take it on the chin that this year wasn’t to be for me. But I didn’t let my head fill with negative thoughts like that. In my mind there was no question, we were going to summit.” The adventurer, who recently returned from a seven-month tour of Afghanistan, wore a climbing harness belonging to JT, who dreamed of tackling the mountain. Out of the 19 people on the expedition, it is thought only four reached the summit as a result of extreme unseasonal weather, equipment failure and illness. To donate and read more about the expedition, visit

Biggin Hill Re-Opens! The RAF Benevolent Fund (RAFBF) is re-opening RAF Biggin Hill online this summer to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. A new site, launching on 25th June, will transport you back to the famous fighter station during the summer of 1940, when pilots manning Hurricane fighters were locked in a vital struggle to beat German attacks from the sky and head off the threat of invasion. The site will include diary entries from five characters who live in a world where every day brings excitement, adrenaline, fear and uncertainty. Day by day the characters involved in the fight will update their blogs with their thoughts about the war, their fears for their loved ones and their concerns for the future. The fictional characters, who include a fighter pilot, engineer, radar operator, nurse and journalist, will be active throughout the summer so that you can keep up to date with the fight wherever they are. The RAFBF decided to create the site as a fun, interactive way to learn about the Battle and the crucial part it played in world history.

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Sport In The Fast Lane Central and East Yorkshire Wing cadets were named overall champions at the North Region Inter-Wing Sports Day. Three firsts and one second (by only one point) out of the five sets of trophies available was a terrific achievement against some very strong opposition and helped secure the overall title. The team led by CWO Liam Maloney of 1869 (Middlesbrough) Sqn as Team Manager with his trusty Team Captains, Cdt Sgt Fiona Mingay of 886 (Ripon) Sqn for the girls and Cdt Sgt Tom Nicholson of 252 (Bridlington) Sqn for the boys, fired up the team to perform well above expectations. Wing Sports Officer Tony Brooker said, “I knew we had a chance to raise the bar from last year when we came third, but to see the look of determination and the fitness of all our athletes really did give me a lump in the throat. They were simply amazing and did the Wing proud.” Above: Team captains, Cdt Sgts Fiona Mingay and Tom Nicholson with the champions’ trophy

Fulham Shine Cadets from 344 (Fulham) Sqn ran out winners at London Wing’s recent athletics championships. The unit, which had a disappointing year in 2009 spent the winter months training and that preparation showed as the medal haul grew.

air cadet xtra Cadets Impress In Challenging Fixtures The Defence College of Aeronautical Engineering (DCAE), Cosford has played host to three important air cadet sports matches. Air Training Corps teams in Hockey, Soccer and Rugby faced various selected teams in a number of wellcontested fixtures. The girls’ Hockey team was the first fixture to face-off, as an ATC side took on Tamworth Ladies Hockey Club. A highly contested rivalry between the two teams dates back to 1993. Since then the two teams have clashed 17 times – eight victories for each and one draw. Current female ATC Sports Cadet of the Year, CWO Liz Tunley of 2303 (The Chalfonts) Sqn, captained the side. The fixture was one of CWO Tunley’s last for the ATC, as she prepares to bid farewell to the organisation on her twentieth birthday, following an impressive cadet career. Sadly for Liz and the rest of the team they fell short of experience, as the Tamworth team took the lead and deservedly finished 3-0 winners. The ATC’s Soccer team kicked-off around the same time as the Hockey, with the boys’ team taking-on another regular opponent in the form of an RAF Careers Information Service (CIS) Select 11. It was the seventh meeting between the two sides, with the cadets having only lost on one occasion. During a tense first half, in which the cadets more than held their own, the RAF side snatched the lead following some neat play on the edge of the area. After the break the cadet side again impressed and managed to level the scores. Despite going close in the final stages they couldn’t find a winner and the scores stayed at 1-1. The final fixture was supposed pit the air cadet boys’ rugby team against Warrington Rugby Club - their traditional opponent. Sadly Warrington was not able to supply a full team, so the cadets locked horns with another promising side – the Shrewsbury Colts.

Having not faced the Colts before the cadet side matched the experienced youngsters for over an hour. But as legs started to tire it was the side from Shrewsbury who scored vital points, as they ran-in a number of tries in the final 10 minutes. The Colts proved too strong in the end for the ATC side and the score finished 45-5. One rare event during the day was the double re-award of Corps Blues (in addition to his existing athletics Blues) to Cdt Sgt Ben Williams from 2515 (Ringwood and Fordingbridge) Sqn. Ben attended Cosford thinking he was playing in the Football team, and indeed he did, but was also called-up to play in the Rugby match too! Ben has played in both teams in previous years but never on the same day. He said: “The Rugby opposition this year was definitely tougher than before, but the ATC teams always do well bearing in mind that they have never played together before.” Deputy Physical Education Officer for the ATC, Matthew Lunn, felt that the event had been a huge success. He said: “It was fantastic to see all of the fixtures go ahead and so many cadets able to challenge experienced club teams. The matches were closer than some of the score lines suggested and the cadets can be very proud of their excellent efforts.”

Coach, AWO Mick Collins, said: “The squadron was well and truly prepared for the event and, despite the tough competition from other London Wing squadrons, the cadets from Fulham all preformed outstandingly well with many taking away more than one medal.” Fulham came away with four awards, including the overall trophy for the highest scoring squadron, as well as the honour of

several cadets being selected to represent the Wing at Regional events.

Golden Day Cadets from Bedfordshire & Cambridgeshire Wing took part in the Wing Athletics Championships held at Cambridge Sports Stadium.

Medal Success Cadets from 863 (Thurston) Sqn raced away with a total of nine trophies, including the overall champions, from the Norfolk and Suffolk Wing Inter-Squadron athletics competition.

Organised by the Wing Sports Officer, Sqn Ldr Les Gill, the Championships were a closely- fought event with each of the 30 squadrons competing for the top places in the Wing. Overall honours went to 134 (Bedford) Sqn. Medals and trophies were presented by OC Beds & Cambs Wing, Wg Cdr Paul Bower.

Fg Off Adam Martin, Sports Officer for 863 (Thurston) Sqn, was delighted with his team’s performance; He said: “Everyone has put in their upmost effort today and we have certainly prospered from this. I am very proud of all the cadets from Thurston and hope they are as relieved and jubilant as I am.” As well as the overall champions trophy, Thurston were also awarded the Junior Boys, Youths and Junior Men’s trophies. Two trophies were then awarded for the overall male and female champions of the day, another for the most successful Squadron in the 4 x 100m relay races and finally two more awards, marking personal achievement during the event, also went to 863 Sqn. Cdt Sgt David Firth was awarded the CO’s plate for his victory in the 1500 metre race with a time of five minutes dead, the other went to CWO Josh Clarke Davis as the best and most successful sports cadet of the day. Air cadets from 1070 (Diss) Sqn, competing in the same competition, brought home their largest medal haul to date, eight golds, one silver and a bronze! Cpl Harry Purves,15, won gold in the Javelin, throwing the longest distance of the day across all classes. Cdt Harley Crisp, 15, who has already represented Central and Eastern Region this year at rugby, won gold in both the 100m and the Long Jump and 14-year-old Cdt Raphael Rushforth took gold with an impressive win in the 1500m in the Junior Boys. They all now go on to represent Norfolk and Suffolk at the Regional Athletics competition. Other winners of the day included the Youth Boys 100m relay team who won gold and Sgt Danielle Breacker who won the bronze in the Senior Girls shot put and silver in the discus.

Results Junior Boys:

Hall Of Fame Adult Sergeant Carl Alsop of 2487 (Easingwold) Sqn has been awarded a prestigious honour in the fast-growing sport of Rock-It-Ball. The International Rock-It-Ball Federation has now chosen the second round of entrants into the Rock-It-Ball Hall of Fame which is designed to honour and thank those people who have made an outstanding contribution to the development of the sport. The committee returned its unanimous decision to honour Carl. In an official statement the 2010 Hall of Fame Committee said: “The Rock-It-Ball Hall of Fame is the highest award that can be bestowed in RockIt-Ball. The award is intended to honour those people who have made an ongoing, consistent and outstanding contribution to the development of Rock-It-Ball. Since first being introduced to the sport Carl’s effort has been unstinting, supportive and enthusiastic. “He has been instrumental in the development of Rock-It-Ball in the Air Cadet Organisation, setting up two teams for participation in the national league and organising the first Air Cadets tournament, working hard to propagate the sport through other squadrons.

1st 134 (Bedford) Sqn 2nd 207 (Cranfield) Sqn 3rd 1003 (Leighton Buzzard) Sqn

Youths: 1st 10F (Luton Airport) Sqn Joint 2nd 460 (Dunstable) and 1406 (Spalding) Sqns

Senior Boys: 1st 2484 (Bassingbourn) Sqn 2nd 1220 (March) Sqn Joint 3rd 115 (Peterborough) and 2417 (Newmarket) Sqns

Junior Girls: 1st 104 (City of Cambridge) Sqn 2nd 115 (Peterborough) Sqn 3rd 2465 (Luton Icknield) Sqn

Senior Girls: 1st 2484 (Bassingbourn) Sqn 2nd 51 (Orton) Sqn 3rd 1406 (Spalding) Sqn

Winners of the Overall Boys:

On top of this he has established another successful club (York) which features teams in the senior league and junior pairs league.

134 (Bedford) Sqn

As well as this Carl works as part of European Rock It Ball Association, is an international player, and has also taken on the role of International Development Manager for the International Rock It Ball Federation.”

Winners of the Overall Girls: 104 (City of Cambridge) Sqn

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Air Cadet Xtra  

All of the extra news, features and events on popular youth movement - the Air Cadet Organisation. With more than 40,000 cadets and 12,000 v...

Air Cadet Xtra  

All of the extra news, features and events on popular youth movement - the Air Cadet Organisation. With more than 40,000 cadets and 12,000 v...

Profile for aircadets