Old kid on the block

After a number of years lurking I’ve decided to take the plunge.
I’ve been in the Air Training Corps man and boy and just about to hit my 40th year. Say it quick and it’s not too bad.

Tried for the RAF many, many years ago and when I was told no, I got a job in the real world and never looked back. No regrets at all about that decision, the RAF decided they didn’t want me and I reciprocated as after the 2 year period I was almost married and settled in a job, which for those old enough will know that in the early/mid 80s giving up a job wasn’t a good move. If I hadn’t made that decision I wouldn’t have had the life and family that I have, which has been satisfying. We now have 4 grandchildren which gives life a whole new perspective.

I reached the dizzying heights of CWO when it was worth something, became CI, then AWO (old style) and eventually Commissioned. I’ve been a unit commander for 20 years (3; one DF (initially as an AWO) and 2 squadrons) and never wanted to go onto Wing Staff, despite several approaches. They don’t ask anymore. My experience has (over the years) with a very few exceptions it’s been people who IMO couldn’t hack squadron life and don’t do anything that end up on Wing. I’ve watched some bloody good squadron commanders get lured onto Wing and had the life sucked out of them, like the victims of some Dr Who alien. who have returned to squadrons and not been the same. Squadron’s are where the ATC is at its most vibrant, it is rewarding and frustrating in equal measure, the latter is caused by people running the show who turn up after a long career in the RAF but have no idea about the Corps and people that volunteer.

That’s a bit of a sweeping statement, isn’t it? I’m ex-RAF, and have been a volunteer for some 12-13yrs as both a Sqn Cdr and a WSO. I like to think I know a little bit about the ACO and those that volunteer.

I think he is talking about HQAC!

As said I’m talking about those at HQAC.
The vast majority of ex-regulars who come into ATC at sqn level do some good stuff, although some come to us with a chip after being treated so poorly in the regulars and never really settle. Also getting to grips with the organisation as what we do and how we operate (given we do this in our spare time) and working with teenagers is not the same as what they have been used to.

I just wish the MoD/ATC could get their head around qualification transferability (mainly wrt weapons) and not play silly buggers. I’ve known a number come to the Corps, only to be told they have to do an ATC course, while their knowledge far exceeds the instructors of ATC course, when all they need at most is maybe an assessment. One (on one of my old units) was ex-RA and had been a Skill at arms instructor long before the ATC got in to it and when they said he had to go to a SATT to get qualified he did a right turn and we never saw him again. The cheek of it was they said about him going onto the SATT, because of his experience, knowledge etc. I imagine that someone who had been a DI would be welcomed with open arms by the moustached / shouty mob.