126 (City of Derby) Squadron have been at the forefront of Air Cadet Rifle Drill for a number of years, gaining a reputation for excellence and being very much in demand by many supporters and events both military and civilian.
This year has seen the team display around the country, most notably the Buxton Military Tattoo, RAF Wittering Officer’s Mess Sunset Ceremony and most recently the 2017 Birmingham International Tattoo.
The Birmingham Tattoo is a large annual event with around one thousand performers and the cadets of 126 have performed there for the last three years, each year with the display growing in popularity and complexity.
The team is required to perform a continuity rifle drill drill sequence to music and in front of approx twenty thousand spectators from all over the world, including many military and civilian VIP’s. Although this may sound a daunting prospect the cadets have consistently risen to the challenge and displayed to a very high standard time and time again.
All of the cadets involved show a great deal of commitment and effort in a continuous training programme to produce a display of such a high standard that has drawn plaudits from a number of senior RAF personnel, including the Royal Air Force Regiment Queens Colour Squadron, numerous Station Commanders and Station Warrant Officers.
The team is supported by a group of highly motivated and committed staff at 126 Squadron, where any additional support and training is provided – including additional weekends and late evenings!
During 2017 they have gone from strength to strength with the support of the staff at 126 Squadron and the wider RAFAC organisation. As a result the team are inundated with requests to perform at many events throughout 2018.
As the team look forward to a very busy 2018, including support for RAF100, The British Legion and RAFA amongst others, the team will of course aim to be the very best at what they do and represent the RAF Air Cadets in the best possible traditions of the organisation and the wider Royal Air Force family.
Cadet Flight Sergeant Kloe Bensley summed up the Team’s thoughts; “When the Rifle Drill Display Team were first asked to perform at Birmingham Military Tattoo it was a unanimous decision in the team that we wanted to perform. We began training around 2 months before the weekend of the tattoo once a week on a parade night. Once the team had the routine nailed we then focused on the smaller aspects of the routine to make us look perfect. A challenge we faced was the music, we wanted to keep it true to the team but also the right speed and length”
“The team could not ask for a more amazing staff team. Our staff have been very supportive and encouraging throughout our training period, even when we were at the arena our Officer Commanding Squadron Leader Ian Marshall MBE who was with us, was still receiving phone calls from staff wishing us good luck.
As we began the display, it would cross our minds that we were not only representing our Squadron or Wing, but we were representing the Corps and also the RAF. We definitely stood a little taller, with our heads a little higher and bursting with pride at the prospect of being involved in such an amazing event”
Cadet Flight Sergeant Harry Burke commented; “Birmingham was such a crazy experience for me personally, I have never been part of such an amazing team full of great people and staff, this was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my 4 years of the Air Cadets. It was mind blowing! It i