During the weekend of Friday 31st October – Sunday 2nd November at RAF Wittering saw the cadets drill instruction course completed by 10 cadets from around the Wing.
Unlike the previous course this was somewhat different as this was the trial of the new Corps devised course ran over a weekend as opposed to the one day course previously taught. In June this year HQAC completed the course material and sent to all Wings in the ACO to run and report back on the content and delivery. This came about after a young eager cadet contacted Comdt AC requesting to attend such a course, as it was not being delivered in their Wing. The Comdt tasked CACWO with ensuring each and every Wing has this in the cadet development syllabus bring about the need to change from our previous course. This ensured that each and every cadet is receiving the exact same training in Scotland all the way down to Cornwall.
The cadets arrived on Halloween with no chance of trick or treat but were met by some scary looking Drill Instructors eager for blood. Introductions completed it was straight in to a personal drill assessment and knowledge check. Late in the evening it was then time to set about preparation of uniforms for the following day.
The Saturday was kicked off with another uniform inspection, followed by various theory lessons surrounding the depths of drill and AP818. Just prior to lunch the cadets received the drill mutual (the structured lesson) that they were to deliver once qualified as cadet instructors of drill. All this was given as the station came alive with the filming of the new Mission Impossible movie, with the humming of an A400M on the runway being surrounded by filming helicopters made for its own mission impossible keeping focussed at the task at hand.
Some worried and anxious faces over dinner and then straight in to the practical side of planning, setting up and delivering a formal drill lesson. Un-like the old course the cadets were to deliver a lesson of a drill movement in Quick Time (on the march) rather than a static movement. With this added pressure came tantrums, feet stamping, shouting and the odd swear word! That said each and every candidate worked immensely hard all the way in to late evening. After a couple of fun drill activities were thrown in to break up the training and the moral buckets full again it was time to head back to the block. This enabled yet more uniform prep time and saw cadets scattered all over the block giving a mirrored image a drill lesson time after time.
Sunday morning arrived and it was assessment day, first up the formal final inspection with only the odd piece of sneaky fluff escaping the buddy buddy checks it was a grade A turnout, and Sgt Goodacre now knows not to apply to much pressure to the jumper when giving it a shave, that or use shaving foam….
Inspection over, time for an open book exercise getting deep into the intricate details of AP818, then time for the big test – The mutual assessment. This is where the DS get to see what type of instructor the cadets are and how they deal with the pressures of delivering a structured lesson and making sure that each student grasps the correct way of a certain movement.
Finally it was time for the course de-brief and closure with certificate presentations, course photograph and personal Drill and Dress Information Discs provided by the DS.
All that attended the course successfully passed and are now able to instruct drill to a high standard on their units, this can only go to better the Wing standards and make for a tighter WFD drill comp!
A special well done to SGT (ATC) Sally Clarke from 348 Sqn, she attended as an observer to potentially further her development as an ATC DI. Sgt Clarke was also assessed and shared the pressures like all the other students.
Warrant Officer (ATC) Haywood
Cadet Drill Course Director