The RAF have recently introduced a number of work experience camps specifically for older cadets aged 16 and over to give them a hands on and extended view of various trades within the RAF. These include Non Commissioned Aircrew, Physical Training Instructors, Fighter Controllers, RAF Police, Logistics, Chefs and Catering and RAF Regiment to name a few.
Cpl Matt McCormack was recently selected for an RAF Regiment camp during the October half term and his report is below. The RAF Regiment is the infantry force of the RAF dedicated to the protection of Airfields and Aircraft deployed around the world.
“Upon arrival at Bury St. Edmunds station the Cadets from around the UK who had been selected to take part in this work experience course with the RAF Regiment all gathered in anticipation. We all got onto the coach, ready to take us to RAF Barnham. During the course of the journey we all introduced ourselves and everyone seemed to get on very well.
We then arrived at RAF Barnham, which is where our sleeping quarters and the main briefing room were. The briefing room was where we were formally introduced to our Directing Staff, and also was the birthplace of many nicknames for the week. The staff then made sure we knew what was going to be happening over the next four days, which was to gain a better insight into what the RAF Regiment was all about and what training would be like if we were to join up.
After our initial brief we went over to our accommodation blocks and squared all our kit away. That night we took the advice of the staff and got our heads down nice and early as we knew how much energy we would need for the rest of the week. Having an early night went down well as we were meant to have a physical training session which was cancelled due to late comers, and we were all exhausted from our long journeys.
The next day we woke up at 0600 with everyone rushing about with excitement. After tucking in to a generous breakfast and sitting a short brief we then piled onto a coach and headed over to RAF Honnington the home of the RAF Regiment for some physical training (PT). We then carried out the RAF’s multi-stage fitness test, which everyone passed. We then went to grab some lunch to keep us going, and soon got changed back into PT kit for a game of football, which my team won! The next part of the day was an initial brief in detail of the RAF Regiment and its history which was very interesting and raised some interesting questions from us. Once we had arrived back at RAF Barnham we then had the rest of the evening to socialise which we made great use of until we all fell asleep.
In the morning we all woke up this time a bit slower than the day before. At breakfast the word soon spread that we were going to do the high ropes course which raised everyone’s eyebrows. We spent that day learning skills necessary in teamwork which proved harder than we thought as we all had marginally different accents. As the weather did not hold up we were unable to attempt the high ropes course, so we went back to our rooms and were given information on different Squadrons in the Regiment which we had to make a presentation on in groups of three.We then had the chance to fire on the DCCT (Dismounted Close Combat Trainer) which is an indoor range where L85 rifles shoot out laser beams rather than bullets to enable us to practise our marksmanship skills. We were then taken back to RAF Barnham to conduct the field training exorcise. This began with a 2 mile TAB (Tactical Advance to Battle) through mud pits and up hills. Then we homed in on our SBD’s (Section Battle Drills), all this physical exorcise wore us thin. So we had no trouble cramming in the calories that evening, before collapsing into bed.
The last day was rather eventful as we were taken over to the assault course. This was part of the course that was designed to “take us out of our comfort zone” (a regularly used quote from the staff), though we soon ran out of time and could not do a complete timed run through. We didn’t have to go far as the classrooms right next to us were where we were next due. In these class rooms we were able to get hold of some rifles that quickly got us on our feet. My favourite would have been the L96 Sniper Rifle. Though all good things have to come to an end, and we were taken back to RAF Barnham. In the main briefing room was where we had to perform our presentations which to our surprise were very amusing thanks to certain characters on the course. Once we had finished we handed all our kit back in and packed away ready for our departure.
So over all I would say the camp was a success in terms of what I have gained, what the other members of the course have gained and what the staff have gained. As I left RAF Honnington (the RAF base responsible for the recruiting and training of the RAF Regiment.) I left with a lot of skills and qualities you don’t often come across in the civilian world. I would recommend these courses to all cadets!
CPL Matt McCormack.”