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First Female Commandant Visits Derby Air Cadets

Article posted: Jul 10, 2010 by Sqn Ldr Wilson

Air Commodore Barbara Cooper, the first female Commandant of the Air Cadet Organisation, was in Derby on Monday evening to inspect 126 (City of Derby) Squadron.

126 Squadron are competing in the Sir Alan Lees Trophy, to become the top air cadet squadron in the country. They are down to the final 6 and welcomed Air Cdre Cooper last night for their final inspection.

On arrival at the squadron, Air Cdre Cooper was greeted by the Lord Lieutenant for Derbyshire, Mr William Tucker. The Lord Lieutenant is a strong supporter of the Derby City squadron and was only too happy to promote the city’s young people in this national competition.

Air Cdre Cooper inspected 105 cadets who were on parade. She chatted with the cadets about their varied experiences in the Air Training Corps. After the inspection, Air Cdre Cooper was given a tour of the squadron by Squadron Leader Ian Marshall, Officer Commanding 126 Squadron and Cadet Warrant Officer Elodie Marsh. The Commandant saw cadets at work on projects such as Aircraft Recognition, Field Catering and First Aid. She was treated to a display by the squadron Corps of Drums and the squadron Rifle Drill Display Team. The 126 Squadron Rifle Drill Display Team is the only cadet rifle drill team in the country. They will perform at Buxton Military Tattoo on 11th July and will attend the Duxford Air Show in September. Finally, the Air Commodore spoke to the squadron shooting team. The team are national Air Cadet shooting champions and the team captain, Flight Sergeant Taisiya Marsh, will represent the UK Cadet Forces on a tour of the Channel Islands next month.

126 Squadron Commanding Officer Ian Marshall said, “It was an honour to be inspected tonight by Air Commodore Cooper. We hope we have performed well enough to be crowned national champions and put Derby Air Cadets on the map.”

Air Cdre Barbara Cooper took up post as Commandant Air Cadets on 1st June this year. She is the most senior ranking female officer in the British Armed Forces and is the first female Commandant of the Air Cadet Organisation. Flying Officer Jackie Barker, Operations Officer at Derby said, “It was inspiring for our female cadets to meet a lady who has excelled in her military career. We hope very much that we will be able to welcome Air Commodore Cooper back to the squadron very soon.”

126 Squadron will find out if they have been successful in the Sir Alan Lees Trophy competition in two weeks.