DURING the February Half Term, we were invited to the Recruits’ Camp at St Martin’s, Folkestone. On our arrival, we unpacked our bags and went to eat in the mess (the same mess that even the Royal Marine Commandos used!). We then learned from our respective room IC’s how to prepare ourselves for a room inspection. After a short time, in which we received pointers on how to present ourselves i.e. polishing boots and making sure our combat trousers were ironed with a straight crease down the front, we were allowed free time. Firstly, we had our first showers (which were not as bad as we first thought) and then we went to the NAFFI in Block 13, where we shared our experiences with each other and stressed out (excessively) about our Part 1 Tests, which went towards us finally becoming cadets and receiving our berets. Returning to our rooms at 22:15, we went to sleep at 22:30 leaving us 8 hours of fulfilling rest.
The next day, we started with a full English breakfast and then a few minutes of last-minute testing of each other. We tried hard on the tests, and with our efforts being reinforced by the great teaching skills of the NCO’s, we all passed! Our tests were followed by a revision session on aircraft recognition and then drill with our Squad IC’s and then lunch.
We were introduced to STEM tasks, this one being led by Flight Sergeant Wong. We were split into two groups and had to plan flight path for our teammates in the other room to follow with a drone. This was a highlight of many people’s time at the camp. We were then introduced to the idea of the ASTC disciplines (excluding shooting): first aid, drill, military knowledge, command tasks and aircraft recognition. We practised command tasks, taking turns to be IC (in-command), and by the end my Squad IC chose me to be the IC during the assessed task. We then had a room inspection which was, as the CWO put it, a “major improvement” on the night before. ‘Lights out’ was at 22:30.
On Wednesday we had a short navigation/tactical task, which my squad successfully completed. We had a short lesson on codes which was inspired by Ben’s love for the subject with the end task spelling out ‘IT IS LUNCHTIME WHEN THIS IS OVER’ in binary. We then did our first-aid exercise (Pilot Officer Pauschoud’s acting was incredible). After this, we did the command task that I led, which was, for me, one of the most enjoyable experiences from the whole camp. We were told to build a tower as tall as possible, with the only limitation being that we couldn’t build unless we were in a set area, but the only people allowed within the circle were blindfolded. It was a true test of my leadership and my squad’s teamwork. Aircraft recognition came next. A navigation task followed this, which had us walking around, following bearings and clues on a map. After this we did some aircraft recognition; a quiz, which was really fun, and then had our last room inspection, free time and sleep.
Thursday was the day of the big parade, where those of us who passed (that was all of us from the RAF section) were issued with our berets. Those of us in the RAF section were then made to learn the drill commands and timings that the Army Section use, which I must say are a lot faster and more complicated than the RAF drill. We then practised as a parade, before going on parade in front of the Major and receiving our berets. Promotions for the NCO’s were announced first, with the RAF promotions being Sergeant Wong to Flight Sergeant Wong and Corporal Wong to Sergeant Wong. The best cadets were then announced: Cadet Norman (me) from the RAF section and Cadet Otu from the Army. We then marched up to the Major, saluted him, received our prizes and marched back. We finished off the parade and ate lunch before leaving for Wilson’s, arriving at 15:30. The whole experience was something to remember, with the Command Task being my personal favourite part of the camp.
Article by ‘Best RAF Cadet’ Norman (Year 9)
Congratulations to all those who achieved promotion during the half-term camp:
Cadet to Lance Corporal
Apio, Arif, Asokkumar, Benjamin, Clerk, Tan, Thompson, Flowers, Fuah, Gikas, Horn, Davidson, Merry, Murugessan, Raja, Sakabani, Wong, Kamalathasan
Corporal to Sergeant
Deng, Fletcher, Sivasothy, Pepper, Nallathambapillai, Rennie Carter
Sergeant to Colour Sergeant
Griffin, Joni, Conceicao
WO 2 (CSM) Wakefield was promoted to WO1 and appointed Regimental Sergeant Major of the Corps.