211 (Newbury) squadron were recently joined by cadets and staff from 2293 (Marlborough) and 1996 (Earley) squadrons to take part in Exercise Fallen Angel, a 3 night fieldcraft exercise at Bramley Training Area.
Starting on Friday evening, the cadets arrived at the training area with all their kit in tow and after a quick safety brief and deciding on flights, the two teams found their “bivvi” area where they would sleep for the night and began setting up. 24 hour ration packs were to be the food of choice for the weekend, and the cadets had to patrol tactically to their “drop-zone” and wait for the “helicopter” to insert them into their area.
Saturday morning was spent training, making sure everyone had the skills required to complete the exercise. Lessons included how to observe the enemy without being seen, what to look for when in an observation point and how to give briefings whilst in the field.
At lunchtime on Saturday both flights were briefed on the situation and the exercise proper began. Bramley had become home to a militia of wanted criminals, and the cadets in their sections must gather intelligence on them before extracting one specific member of the group on Monday morning. The next 2 days were spent living in field conditions – sleeping outdoors, wearing camouflage cream, sneaking around and completing missions set by their own headquarters, all of which test the cadets resolve, adaptability and leadership skills.
Being blessed with exceptional weather made it a pleasant weekend for all involved, and come Monday competition was fierce amongst the teams, going down to the wire. Flying Officer Luke Pepperell RAFVR(T), exercise controller and officer in charge of 211 (Newbury) Squadron said:
“We’ve had another fantastic annual fieldcraft exercise, this year with Earley squadron joining in as well. All the cadets did well to cope under the pressure of constant missions and having to remain ‘behind enemy lines’ for 2 days. My thanks go to all the staff that have helped make this event the success it is, as without them none of it would have been possible and I know the cadets feel the same way too”.