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Royal Air Force Chief of Air Staff Dining Out and Sunset Ceremony

Article posted: Jul 18, 2016 by Sqn Ldr Rayson-Flynn

South and East Midlands Wing ATC were recently invited to take up another highly regarded ceremonial duty representing the whole of the Air Training Corps.

At 1600hrs the Cadets were greeted by Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore McCafferty at the ACO Adult Training Facility. On arrival the cadets were briefed on the occasion and the time table of events by the ATC OiC- Wing WO(ATC) Dan Haywood.

Every cadet was presented with a certificate of attendance personally signed by the Commandant which will form a unique entry into each cadet’s record of achievement.

The cadets were transported to the magical yet very soggy College Hall Officers Mess (CHOM) where they were introduced to Warrant Officer Chris Shaw, the ceremonial college WO. After sizing off and each being allocated a dedicated position on the hallowed steps of CHOM it was then time to dress for the occasion.

Putting on their best uniform with ceremonial white gloves and belts the cadets returned 2 foot taller and ready for action.

On the arrival of Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Douglas Pulford, GCB, CBE, ADC the cadets fronted the CHOM steps and formed a light blue footprint to the RAF against a glowing back drop of the College. ACM Pulford instantly couldn’t resist the urge to talk to the cadets that had made the trip to initiate the start of his special leaving dinner from the RAF.

Prior to entering and meeting his formal guests for the evening he was presented with a Crystal Air Cadets 75th Anniversary Decanter for all the support and dedication he has given the Air Cadet movement over his RAF Career, this was presented by CWO Jinni Surr from 1461 (Wigston) Sqn.

Next up was the guest picture where the cadets hustled and jostled with the RAF’s highest ranking officers for prime place in the picture.

For the cadets it was now time to hand the spot light over to the regular RAF and they had prime position for quite possibly the most surreal of ceremonial events they will ever witness. As the Band of the RAF Regiment struck up the scene was set with the distinct pounding of ammo boots as the Queens Colour Squadron (QCS) took centre stage.

QCS went on to perform a spectacular continuity routine that was flawlessly executed, once completed the QCS marched off and reformed to then become a guard of honour during the sombre sunset ceremony.

The highlight for the evening was at the exact moment the QCS struck, seized and grasped the rifle hitting the final movement to the present arms. The ground shook with the raw of the Euro Fighter Typhoon launching overhead. The almighty heart stopping thunderous act stole everyone’s breath and carved a lasting memory in each person’s military mind forever. The show was still not yet over as the sunset the distinct engine of a spitfire completed a flypast followed by the ACM’s favourite air frame the Chinook.

As the cadets marched off away from CHOM the uplifting drums of the Royal Marines played a beating for dinner piece in the foyer of the mess. Each cadet left RAF Cranwell with a totally full bucket of morale and the ringing tones of the Wing Warrant Officer enforcing his delight of how professional and smart the Wing had just been. The simple yet effective performance the cadets had just completed was a showcase to the senior officers of the RAF just how much the Air Cadets Organisation is in touch with its parent service.

Written by Warrant Officer Dan Haywood
Picture Credits: Gordon Elias, Sergo Media Services