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Air Cadets meet the Royal Air Force in Northumberland

Air Cadets from 131 (City of Newcastle), 733 (Newcastle Airport) and 861 (Wideopen) Squadrons have been meeting the Royal Air Force in Northumberland at their local Station, RAF Boulmer.

The cadets, aged between 13-19, attended the RAF station as part of their leadership development training and took part in a busy camp.  Many of the cadets had just joined the Air Cadets and this was a fantastic opportunity for them wear their uniforms and meet regular RAF personnel for the first time!

The cadets spent the weekend on the base with serving personnel engaging in leadership exercises, target shooting, an Air Battlespace Management exercise, drill and ceremonial training and visits to 202 Squadron to see the Sea King helicopter and the Command Reporting Centre bunker.

The cadets learnt about how to maintain their uniform and keep their rooms tidy in line with the Warrant Officer's standards.  Cadet Matthew Leonard, 13, of Seaton Burn, said “I was issued with my uniform on the Thursday before the camp which meant I had to learn to look after it before we left for Boulmer.  The older cadets taught me how to iron my shirt and trousers and how to polish my shoes – it was hard but really good fun!  I loved wearing my uniform on an RAF station for the first time and I learnt a lot during the weekend”.

The cadets learned about how RAF Boulmer defends over the skies of Britain by visiting the Command Reporting Centre where the bunker staff explained how Quick Reaction Alert fighters are srambled if a threat is detected. The cadets had the chance to visit 202 Squadron who operate the Sea King Search and Rescue helicopter and find out about how the Search and Rescue Force is going to change after 2015 when flying operations will stop at RAF Boulmer.

Pilot Officer Anna Irwin of 131 (City of Newcastle) Squadron said: “The weekend was very successful and it was the first time my group of cadets had been to an RAF Station – for some of them it was their first time away from home which meant everything was a very steep learning curve for them”.

Flight Lieutenant James Elliott, 861 (Wideopen) Squadron Commander and activity organiser, said: “This weekend is yet another example of how closely linked we are with our Parent Station, RAF Boulmer.  The cadet accommodation at RAF Boulmer is absolutely superb and my thanks goes to the station for its support of this camp.  Cadets who have just joined the Air Cadets in the past couple of months had the opportunity to work with older cadets, serving RAF personnel and visit the Royal Air Force up close and personal – it was quite a learning curve for them.  This is what the Air Cadets is all about – learning new things and working in teams!  I am certain the weekend has benefitted them greatly.”

New members of adult staff were also reacquainted with the RAF again.  Civilian Instructor, Mr Dean Worthington of 733 (Newcastle Airport) Squadron, has recently re-joined the organisation as an adult member of staff.  He said “It was brilliant to attend this camp and work with the cadets again on an active RAF station.  I used to be an Air Cadet until a few months ago and I really miss being a cadet but it is great to help them get as much as I did out of the organisation”.

The Air Cadets is open to all young people aged 13-17 years.  There are 35 Squadrons in Durham/Northumberland Wing and the chances are there is a unit near you!  Why not visit www.raf.mod.uk/aircadets to find out what Air Cadets are getting up to where you live, find out where your nearest unit is and join the premier youth organisation in the UK?  861 (Wideopen) Squadron is recruiting now – we are located behind Woodlands Hall in Wideopen and meet every Monday and Thursday, 7-9.30pm.

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