Staff and Cadets from the Squadron attended Crowborough Training Camp over the weekend of 14 – 16 Nov 08 to carry out Field Craft training in a challenging and practical environment. The cadets where split into 3 Flights to carry out basic, intermediate and advance training. The Basic Flight where introduced to the art of living out of a Bergen Rucksack, carrying everything needed to survive, including Ration Pack food and ‘Basher’ shelters, which can provide a barrier to the elements if correctly used. They also learnt the skills of camouflage and concealment, and how to move in a disciplined and military way throughout the Pippingford Park Training Area during the day and the night. They also had the opportunity to develop their culinary skills by cooking their rations on Hexamine cookers.
The other two Flights carried out more advanced training and completed several exercise scenarios, such as evacuating downed Pilots, under the eye of the Sqn Directing Staff. These are designed to give both NCOs and Cadets the chance to have a lead of a Section of cadets on tasks that can last up to several hours, which can improve their leadership and confidence, and help them learn from their mistakes, which do occur!
The cadets in these Flights were being trained and assessed in Leadership, Personal Administration and Fieldcraft skills in a barren and wild area, with no comforts of home such as beds, running water and a roof over their head! The cadets were also inspected on both mornings for personal hygiene (including the removal of the previous night camouflage face cream and shaving for the male cadets and staff!) cleanliness of cooking and eating equipment and cleanliness of boot; not an easy task having spent a night in a forest, and one that relies heavily on baby wipes!
The exercise ended with the tradition fast march by Sections back to the Camp from the training area, a distance of about 4 miles, over very hilly and muddy terrain, carrying their equipment with them, a test of personal fitness, team work and determination.
The Squadron Commander, Sqn Ldr Godden, stated “This is an vital part of our training cycle, and being able to take the cadets out of their comfort zone and into an unfamiliar and challenging environment which can be cold, uncomfortable, tiring and often wet, enables them to develop as individuals and as a team, and contributes to the high quality of cadets and NCO we develop. It is also excellent practical command and leadership training for the Adult Staff who are out there with the cadets living in the same conditions and setting the example for the guys and girls to follow, and without whom we would not be able to provide the cadets with these opportunities”.
Cadet Akshay Mandalia said “Phase 1 was fantastic, I learnt a lot about fieldcraft and learnt how important having good admin was when you are in the field in the pitch dark. Overall it was a fantastic weekend!”
The photo shows Cadet Jack West , who was acting as a Basic Flight Section Commander, carrying out his personal admin outside his basher.