In September of 2013, FLT SGT’s Timson & Hardy started an 8 month journey of hard work and commitment culminating in a gruelling 7 day force protection exercise that challenged them both physically and mentally in a very demanding environment.
The selection process consisted of a weekend at Bodney camp, Norfolk. FLT SGT’s Timson & Hardy were put through their paces being assessed in a variety of areas ranging from command tasks, current affairs debates, interviews, navigation and field craft examinations and the RAF Regiment Fitness test. After a short social on the Saturday evening with the Junior Leaders course directing staff, the two candidates were finding out about how rewarding the course was before even knowing if they made it through selection! On the Sunday morning the course was cut down as people were sent back to their units having not passed selection. However for Timson & Hardy, they were notified they made it through and were given their initial kit consisting of a Bergen, sleeping bag and webbing.
Phase One Training:
This consisted of a highly intense learning period from September to November finishing with a test weekend in December to decide whether or not the candidates were at the right stage to continue to phase 2 of the course (field Phase). Through navigation exercises in both day and night covering distances of up to 10km, Hardy and Timson were put through their paces again. Along with revising for Air Power examinations, preparing presentations, ILM project work including planning a fundraising event for the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation and passing a WHT on the L85 A2 Assault Rifle, the two were very busy over the winter period.
Phase Two Training:
After having passed phase one, Timson and Hardy had no easy ride as the course stepped up a couple of gears at this point in the intensity of both what they had to learn and also the various physical aspects of the course. This is the part of the course the majority of air cadets are aware of, as it is the field training aspect consisting of various lessons in the field covering hygiene, harbour areas, section battle drills and patrolling etc. from January to March. At this stage the course was preparing for test week and there is no better way than having another weekend to test the candidates. This was the Pre-Deployment part of the course to determine which of the candidates had the physical and mental stamina to survive test week. At the end of that weekend both Hardy & Timson were notified that they had been put forward to attend test week and were over the moon!
Test Week- Stanta Training Area:
Arguably the most unknown part of the course in terms of what actually happens during the 7 days that you are deployed into the field. However, after all the training, all the long nights and early mornings, Timson & Hardy were as ready as you can be for such a demanding experience. After going through 7 days of very tough exercises including overnight moves and storming compounds to then operate from, the two did not have it easy. FLT SGT Hardy had this to say about the week:
“At the beginning we had no idea what to expect other than a week of demanding tasks! We were constantly on the go, which made Test Week seem to finish so quickly. Our Sections basically became our family and pulled each other through when necessary. I would happily go through it all again even though it was very demanding! Overall It was an absolutely brilliant experience and I couldn’t recommend the course enough, especially to females! I have learnt so much from this experience and have developed as an individual. I couldn’t thank the Directing Staff more for what they have taught me and the opportunities that have been offered to me!
The two were extremely happy when departing the field and getting a meal in the camp mess. Following a 12 hour forced rest period, the two then had a day of weapons cleaning, kit return and debriefs. After which they were presented with the coveted maroon lanyard and were sent to get ready for a graduation dinner at RAF Honington’s officers mess. Following a lot of heart felt speeches for the Directing Staff, FLT SGT Hardy was awarded the Bursary she applied for from the JTYAF to travel to Kenya for 3 weeks of humanitarian aid work along with a week of R & R. She is due to travel out August of this year and is extremely honoured and excited about embarking on a very humbling, once in a lifetime experience. After the night was over it was back to the block for an early morning DZ parade during which Timson & Hardy were presented with the JL Tactical flash which solidified their position as Qualified Junior Leaders.
1461 Media Team