What do you get if you take 100 Air Cadets, a confidence course, the RAF Outreach Team and a choice of field craft training areas – well you get the most successful greens camp offered by Thames Valley Wing to date!
The camp, now in its third year at Pirbright Camp in Surrey, was aimed at the Wing’s younger cadets with a three day “Blue Phase” which was followed by a two day “Green Phase” field craft exercise. Also in the mix were a VIP engagement day and a myriad of evening social activity.
On arrival the cadets were split down into their Flights, each with 12 cadets and an NCO, before receiving a welcome brief from their Camp Commandant Squadron Leader Mark Trevena who introduced them to the programme. He described what the camp was designed to achieve ”We wanted to create a camp that would allow cadets who had not yet attended an RAF Camp to learn some new skills that would allow them to get more from their first camp at an RAF Station”. He continued “Of course, we also wanted the camp to be memorable, interesting for cadets and staff alike together with being enjoyable”.
Next day after a massed first parade which saw the ATC Ensign hoisted, the cadets started the three day “Blue Phase” which saw them take part in a number of different activities including an obstacle Course, pilot survival training, leadership exercises, first aid, self-defence training, radio communications and aerospace training.
On the final day of the Blue Phase a number of VIP’s were invited to an engagement day. They included Colonel Stephen Oxlade (CEO of South East RFCA), Squadron Leader Jill Antrobus (South West Assistant Regional Commandant ) and Squadron Leader Stephen New (Dep OC Thames Valley Wing). After a welcome brief from a team of cadets, they had a chance to visit all of the activities that were on offer.
To end the phase all of the cadets and staff got dressed in their loudest shirts and grass skirts ready for an Hawaiian themed party night! Competitions included the best (and worst!) dressed, best Hula dancer and a “dance ‘til you drop” competition.
Next morning the cadets readied themselves for the green phase which would see them deploy for 2 days into the Ash Ranges Training Area to brush on their existing field craft skills as well as learning some new ones.
After a day and half of training and consolidation exercises, the cadets were briefed on their final exercise scenario which would last for a day including a night exercise.In their Flights they had to move close to an “enemy HQ” unobserved to create a Range Card detailing all of the positions of enemy troops and buildings. Then, after an update brief from staff, under the cover of darkness all 100 cadets had to navigate to the enemy location to leave a “bomb” without being seen or heard before moving back to a third location where they would be extracted from the area.
Back at camp all of the cadet’s green uniform was packed away and their normal blue uniform prepared for the final phase. This would see them display a continuity drill display in front of ex-RAF Regiment Officer Group Captain Sandy Davie who’s experience includes a time with the world famous Queens Colour Squadron. Then, they had to form up ready for a formal review and March past. Needless to say the cadets performed both with precision and earned much praise from Group Captain Davie.
Sqn Ldr Trevena sums up the camp “The cadets were on form throughout the week and were praised by everyone who saw them in action”He continued “At the end of the week we had a very tired, but still smiling, bunch of cadets who certainly learned new skills and are already talking about Pirbright 2013!”