Newbury & Warwick Cadets Join Forces for Fieldcraft Training.
From the 26th to the 28th of July fifteen cadets of Newbury Air Cadets joined forces with cadets and staff from 1368 (Warwick and Royal Leamington Spa) Squadron for a fieldcraft training exercise at Pirbright, Surrey.
The weekend started with establishing the Exercise Headquarters – putting up 12×12 tents and setting up the Comms Centre. Plt Off Pye RAFVR(T), the Exercise Controller then gave a safety briefing to the cadets, followed by a run through of the weekends program of events. The cadets were then deployed to their Forward Operating Base to establish the bivi areas for the initial training element of the exercise which lasted for 24 hours and covered field hygiene, field cooking, constructing bivi sites, patrol skills and camouflage and concealment.
On Saturday afternoon, after proving themselves confident and competent with the basic fieldcraft skills, the cadets were mustered for the exercise briefing. The overall mission objective was to seize some sensitive equipment being held by enemy forces. The cadets mission was broken into a series of phases; infiltration of area, establish Forward Operating Base, locate friendly agent, gain intelligence of location of intelligence, reconnoitre the immediate area and establish Observation Points, gather intelligence on enemy guard force, establish enemy routine, seize equipment without being detected, fall back to FOB and exfiltrate the area. Each phase of the exercise put into practice the skills the cadets had learned over the previous weeks during training on the ACP16, as well as consolidated practical training on Saturday.
The cadet were broken into two flights, one lead by Cpl Brown, the other by Cdt Loughnane who both had to complete the same objectives. The cadets spent 60 minutes planning the exercise, working through options and planning a route into the area before deploying with full equipment to the exercise area, establishing basha sites and setting up area perimeters to secure the site.
The staff acted as the enemy force, providing the security detail for the sensitive equipment “boxes” – which also provided a good opportunity to check the cadets skills and performance with what they have been taught, as well as providing immediate safety cover incase of any emergencies.
The cadets successfully achieved the mission at 0030 hours, before making their way back to their bivi site. Unfortunately, on return trip to the bivi site, the cadets navigation skills left a little to be desired, with the cadets taking a wrong turn and ending up in unfamiliar terrain. The decision was made to return to their rendezvous point where they contacted their Head Quarters for support who and aided their exfiltration. Cadet Chris Pearce summarized his experiences saying, “The few navigation and personal administration mistakes highlighted that we still have a lot learn!”
Aside from the navigation problems, the exercise went very well, with the cadets putting into practice all their training. Newbury Squadron’s Fieldcraft Training Coordinator Civilian Instructor Jon Fitt said “I was very impressed with the cadets and the way in which they stepped up to the mark. It was also good to see cadets from another Region & Wing getting involved with the training and working so well together with people who, until 48 hours ago, they didn’t know!”
Information supplied by Cadet Chris Pearce, Media Communications Team, 211 (Newbury) Squadron.