Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Henley Air Cadets

AS with all youth organisations, the backbone of the Air Training Corps is its body of

AS with all youth organisations, the backbone of the Air Training Corps is its body of adult volunteers.

The civilian instructors, adult SNCOS and officers plan, organise and run the events the cadets take part in.

They are trained and qualified to conduct most aspects of the cadets’ training. Some of these are the glamorous ones, such as gliding, and some are competitive, such as target shooting.

The two big cadet shooting competitions in Bisley and Pirbright — ISCRM (target rifle) and CISSAM (service rifle) — could not take place without a dedicated team to book in the competitors, allocate bed spaces, issue meal tickets, store and issue rifles and ammunition, dish out packed lunches and provide the night guard. This falls to the Milforce team, whose praise is usually given at the beginning of the prize-giving, when the chairman gives thanks to the range and other ancillary staff.

This year, an individual member of the Milforce was surprised to hear his own name called out. Flight Sergeant Ian King from 447 (Henley-on-Thames) Squadron is retiring as a uniformed SNCO and this was to be his last CISSAM in uniform. Marking his combined 45 years’ service in the Territorial Army and Air Training Corps, he was presented with a certificate in recognition of his support to the Milforce team.

Ian is a keen shooter and is a skill at arms instructor and range conducting officer as well as holding coaching qualifications from both national governing bodies, the National Rifle Association and the National Small-Bore Rifle Association. Uniformed or not, all volunteers can bask in the feeling that, without them, cadets could not achieve what they do.

Military experience is not a pre-requisite, but a desire to bring out the best in cadets is. A good sense of humour and a spirit of adventure will help and full training is provided. For more information, contact Henley squadron by email at 447@aircadets.org or visit www.raf.mod.uk/aircadets

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