On a wet Wednesday evening, 11 cadets from Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire Wing assembled at Royal Air Force Halton House, Officers Mess (HHOM) to perform a continuity drill Sequence.
These 11 cadets were the lucky few out of a wing of over 1000 cadets to put on an armed drill display for over 150 officers and Non-Commissioned Officers of 22 Training Group which included – Air Vice Marshal Andrew Turner, Officer Commanding 22 group and Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty RAFR, Commandant of the Air Cadet Organisation. The purpose of this event was to showcase the skills and outstanding quality of the Air Cadet Organisation (ACO) and Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire Wing (HBW).
Over 3 weekends preceding the event on Wednesday 15 June 2016, the cadets travelled to RAF Halton (HBW Headquarters) to rehearse the drill. four of these cadets had attended the Drill and Ceremonial camp the year before so had been trained in rifle drill already. The remaining cadets had never before attempted any rifle drill before so it was a steep learning curve for them but one they all overcame with great ease and confidence.
Taught by Warrant Officer (ATC) Dave Tubbs, Wing Warrant Officer for HBW and assisted by Flight Sergeant (ATC) Paul Evans from 2F (Watford) Squadron and Sergeant (ATC) Victoria Stopps from 1280 (Rickmansworth) Squadron, the 11 cadets were put through their paces on the parade squares around RAF Halton to enhance and improve their drill ability. They mastered many different commands and positions from the “Slope Arms” to the “On Guard” and were then able to put these positions into a full routine. The routine consisted of 54 moves perfectly coordinated by WO Tubbs to the March of the Royal Air Force Regiment “Hollywood”. While the cadets were rehearsing at the back of HHOM a window opened and Air Commodore McCafferty appeared and congratulated the cadets then came down to talk to each cadet individually about their cadet experiences.
All the attending dignitaries from all three of the armed forces were extremely complimentary and the Station Warrant Officer from RAF Halton came and saw the cadets after the event and was incredibly impressed by the standard of turnout from the cadets and the incredible drill they had learned, remembered and perfected.
Cadet Sergeant Emma Ockendon from 1280 (Rickmansworth) Squadron Air Training Corps said “I was privileged and honoured to have taken part in the arms drill continuity sequence which was in front of over 150 officers and NCOs of 22 Training Group. Myself and the other 10 cadets in the squad put all our efforts into the three training days to make sure we performed this once in our cadet lifetime opportunity to the best our abilities. The bruises and achey arms were definitely worth it! ”
Eight cadets from (2409) Halton Squadron attended the event along with their Officer Commanding, Flight Lieutenant Stuart Buckland RAFVR(T), and acted as a guard of honour for the attending dignitaries.
Over all an amazing experience for all the cadets and one they will never forget.
Report by – Cadet Warrant Officer A J Birch – 795 (Harpenden) Squadron Air Training Corps