Midlands Air Cadets Bonus Flight on Wing camp
In addition to their normal activities on their Spring “Green” Camp, the Air Cadets and Staff from across the South & East Midlands had the added treat of a flight in a Royal Air Force (RAF) Chinook Helicopter from RAF Odiham.
The surprise bonus to the busy Training Programme came courtesy of 29 Squadron based at the Hampshire base. In a well run and executed exercise requiring close planning between the aircrew and those on the ground, the Chinook gave a once in a lifetime treat to 266 cadets and staff during a hectic period of just under two hours.
Two Hundred and Nineteen Cadets from South and East Midlands Wing showed their grit and determination in ensuring they got their full value from the Wing’s Spring Camp at Defence Training Estate (DTE) Swynnerton.
Accompanied by fifty one staff and Instructor Cadets, the cadets from all over the Midlands and spanning the entire cadet age group (13 to 18 years) were split into twelve flights of around twenty cadets each to spend a week competing against each other whilst being trained and exercised in numerous disciplines.
Held at DTE Swynnerton, Staffordshire, a busy programme was formulated by the Camp Training Officer, Flight Lieutenant Jack Stepanian, that included; First Aid (Casevac), Shooting, Drill, Field Craft, “Gun Run”, mountain biking, canoeing and even flight simulators amongst others.
Leadership and teamwork were tested throughout the week especially during the days of continuous rain when the Flight Commanders (all under eighteen years of age) had to keep up the cadet’s morale under extreme circumstances.
It was also a tough time for those staffing the exercises. All volunteers who had given up their time to ensure that the cadets had the very best of training and entertainment.
The Wing camp was visited by a very impressed selection of VIPs. Willie Tucker, the Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire, David Coleman the High Sheriff, The Deputy Chief Executive of East Midlands Reserve Forces and Cadets Association(RFCA), Lieutenant Colonel Simon Worsley (Rtd) and John Jones from Rolls Royce of Derby, a major local employer of skilled engineers. There were representatives from RAF Wittering, RFCA, SSAFA and the RAF Association. They all agreed that the depth and quality of the training being given was superb.
John Jones of Rolls Royce examines the “Gun” mechanism
John Jones (Rolls Royce PLC) said he found “incredible the hard work, planning and utter professionalism of the staff of volunteers and equally incredible was the hard work, tenacity and team spirit of the cadets”.