Should the Aircadets move to the Sea cadet/Royal Marine model of delivering Fieldcraft/Regiment training

So this got me thinking & I think this is more of a new topic than rather than anything talked about previously.

Currently we try to imbed the fieldcraft& regimental skills into the air cadets as a standard training something that doesn’t happen in our parent service. You have a regiment flight who lead & specialise with the rest of the RAF having only a passing familiarity.

Within the Sea cadets (& Royal Navy) the royal marine cadets are separate parallel structure within the sea cadets. their company’s are linked to an area(equivalent to wings/regions ish) and use a slightly different chain of command. The Blue side still leads & takes primacy.

Could this be the better way of us embedded fieldcraft within a cadet squadron as in you have a specific section that focuses on the green/field bits rather than the aviation.

I would be a massive organisational mentality change if not putting everyone in the same pot but it might allow more effective use of resources & keep things interesting for those that want to.

So for example you could Central & East Regimental training Sqn, Trent Flight, 123 Section.

This is just an off the wall idea so not sure what everyone’s thoughts are.

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I think the main difference is that the Royal Marines are a corps in their own right perfectly capable of mounting their own operations.

It seems reasonable to have royal marine cadets as a lot of people would aspire to join the marines as a career in itself. The Regiment in the 21st century isn’t far from being G4S in MTP.

If you’re going set up RAF Regt specific cadet squadrons you may as well set up specific catering focussed squadrons whilst you’re at it.


It feels more and more (especially in peacetime) that they’re maintained solely so the RAF has a dedicated ceremonial unit.


That’s a fair point & there is a big difference between the RMs & RAFReg in terms of capability & role.

I don’t think dedicate air cadet Regiment Sqns would really work (although you could argue the CCF use to be this)

What it would be is within a Sqn, there is a cadet flight that specialises in regimental/field training.

Still under the overall command of Sqn OC, but have an additional reporting chain/structure.

Each Sqn has a field training Section (should the OC be able to support it)
Each Wg has a Regimental/Field Training Flight
Each region has a cadet regimental Field training Sqn.

(Still trying to figure out what terminology would be best)

In the same way that a regiment flight/Sqn on a station is under the command of the station commander but also has its RAF regiment reporting chain.

The whole point of cadets, though, is to experience a little bit of everything on offer, rather than stick to one thing or pigeonhole yourself.


Yes & also no,

I have cadets who refuse to have anything to do with any fieldcraft training, others want to do nothing else.

Breadth is good but is also good to be highly trained in a couple of specialisms too.

A lot of our training is becoming more complex & more time consuming to deliver to a good standard.

We can try to do everything at a basic level or do a couple of areas really well.

What my thinking was that similar to the SCC (I believe at any rate) cadet would do common first class training (maybe also leading?!?) & then specialise in the field area rather than the aviation aspect.

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Personally as @FunVampire mentioned, I would prefer that we offer our cadets a varied experience.

If any of our cadets are not interested in Fieldcraft then they are not forced to attend the Fieldcraft Weekends that both the unit and Wing provide.

The biggest challenge with everything we do in this organisation is having suitably qualifed CFAV to be able to give cadets the chance to experience all that is on offer within the RAFAC.


I’ve known Squadrons over the years have this sort of structure. Especially when Projects used to be needed for the classifications. So you were based in flights based upon your project interest which you did for 1 of the 2 parade nights per week.

So you had a Regiment Flight, a Comms Flight and a Band Flight for example.

It never really worked as far as I could tell, to keep the numbers workable you always ended up with people in a flight they didn’t want to be in, doing something they weren’t as interested in once a week.

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Which is the issue - we can’t offer all the activities that the RAFAC offers. Very few squadrons are able to other everything & we have less staff.

So this is the blurb from the sea cadet website for the Royal Marines.

So if we followed that model, Regiment Cdts would still do a lot of the air cadet side but would maybe do slightly different classification topics than the aviation subjects, would be more field focused

The air cadet experience seems so jam packed it is sometimes harder to deliver anything more than tick box taster sessions.

Now it maybe that the sea cadets can do this as they have a slightly less bureaucracy than us as a couple of decades ago this we could & did deliver.

Not every squadron can run fieldcraft at unit so not every unit would have a field training section.

I would also envisage that you would have a member of staff that would run the field section part for the OC Sqn.

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How many staff do you have and how many nights a week are you planning to be open?

If you are adding more classifications where are you going to do them? Most Squadrons are short of space and staff as it is.


I remember this being something similar when we had Sqn projects & yes it didn’t work that way. I think the difference is in this structure is that cadets would actively opt for that route & then follow that program- almost a Sqn within a Sqn mindset. Still parading on same nights as the rest of the Sqn but then doing their own training program.

If you wanted a reg section you would need to demonstrate numbers to ensure it would be sustainable so it could continue. So large Sqns with large squadron buildings would probably be where the sections would be located.

Is anyone here a marine/sea cadet & throw some more detailed light on how it works in practise & if it could be adapted to the ATC?

At the moment the current model of fieldcraft delivery doesn’t seem to be reaching areas so just wondering if there are other options /models that we could explore that deliver thing

In general the aircadet syllabus has tended to evolve has things have been tacked on leading to the congestion- if we were starting from scratch I don’t think we would be using the model that we do use.


We can’t get either side right as it is, we definitely can’t get both.

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When I was a cadet my unit had a regiment flight that had a different training program to the rest of the unit. Was small but worked really well, we then provided fieldcraft training, exercises and bits to the rest of the unit.

I don’t think we have the staff or expertise to deliver it as a separate thread as part of the RAFAC, the management would simply say to join the ACF/RMC.


It’s an interesting idea but - again like @Chief_Tech just throwing an idea out there - rather than having separate flights on Squadron or ‘Reg’ only Sqns run it as a regular activity that cadets can do in addition to Sqn nights.

It could have its own training team and take cadets from across sector or Wing. The older Cadets could participate in a similar way to flight staff cadets at a VGS.

The FP unit could then provide ‘enemy’ and demo troops to wider wing activities and support Squadrons by helping with lower level FC training. If we could align it so the senior cadets work towards their FCI it would help with staffing too when they turn 18.

I think some Wings have run shooting teams on a similar basis?


But if that’s the case why are we trying to deliver fieldcraft in the way we currently are? It’s not coordinated between Sqns so we’re all just trying to deliver as a separate cottage industries.

The fieldcraft element is outside the main focus & expertise of both the RAF & RN and thus the ATC & SCC.

The navy separate it out & have it delivered by the Royal Marines. We try & include it as a part of core business & thus struggle.

If you separated it, have a cadet force within a cadet force then you could grow that specialism which could then be used to help train the basics on a wider level - similar to when you were a cadet.

The inner cadet force could have the specialism of fieldcraft, arms drill, maybe higher level of radio, MoI etc You have staff primarily responsible for running the section but they can also help out with wider squadron events .

You can then have the sections standardise their training by coming together as a Wing Flt.

I think that this could work, & mixed in with the ideas from @WestlandScout it could deliver a better structure for the field training & enhance the overall experience for the cadets & potentially staff, who get a “command” role at at more junior than normal rank with support at unit level.

It does come back to volunteer numbers though & that’s far greater problem than this idea can address. Perhaps the idea could be trialed across a wing for 18mths.

I dunno - @dazizian might have some thoughts…


To an extent yes, but it is taught during basic training. There’s also the SERE topics that we don’t teach but where there is an overlap. (*)

I’ve also heard some of the very senior parent service people say that as the RAF becomes more expeditionary, combat skills are more nkt less important.

  • at the risk of thread drift I do wonder if we can/should teach survival/bushcraft (the Scouts do and it was part of DofE training at one point)

I always have thoughts / an opinion :joy:

That’s all this is, however: my thoughts and opinion. This isn’t a policy statement or statement of HQ RAFAC position.

How we ‘do’ fieldcraft right now, as a general sweeping statement and tarring all with the same brush blah blah … is not good. It’s disjointed; it’s uncoordinated; on the whole, it’s not progressive enough; the offering is inconsistent; standardisation is poor. I hate the state of fieldcraft in the RAFAC.

Cue the people who do / think they do it well speaking out against me; good for you and your cadets!

There is a project to change the way we do business but we all know how long these things take to change, especially when it’s not a subject that is given sufficient credence.

I think it’s right that it is a bolt-on cadet experience but I don’t believe for a second that we’ll have a split ‘Corps’ (let alone whether I think it’s a good idea).

My plea: right now, I wish we would focus on growing the ability to give every cadet the opportunity to experience good quality, basic fieldcraft, and to offer sensible progression to those who want it. Stop trying to give everything to everyone. Stop putting training with OME on a pedestal: it’s nothing especially risky or elite; it has the potential to add realism, challenge and fun for the many if only we could change the attitudes of those who see it as too difficult, for the elite or too dangerous.

You’ve started me on a rant now :grimacing:

I’ll finish it on that point about risk / danger: I think the risk presented by training with OME pales by comparison to that of transporting our cadets to and from our events.


So true.

As someone at the coalface I just don’t know how we get from where we are now to the sunlit uplands of effective FC delivery. I’m sure we can, I just don’t have the route drawn in chinagraph pencil on my fablon-covered map.

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I suppose that was what I was proposing & think you’re right that it would probably not happen or at least not particularly quickly.

I share that similar frustration & it prompted the thought about looking at a different model- I think the ATC is good at telling itself that it’s doing something very well when in fact it isn’t & it’s doesn’t react well to or take constructively criticism.

The instincts is for us to try & follow the ACF pattern of fieldcraft but that’s their bread & butter & something we would not have the resources to deliver.

I don’t know if we have looked at the Royal Marine cadets but that might suit our needs better - where fieldcraft is a bolt on & not central training. If you have a RM unit near you it might be worth going along or speaking to the company commander to find out how it works.

I did a lot of training as a CCF(RAF) cadet with OME. I was shocked at the level & experience of ATC fieldcraft but especially the attitude to it. People wanted to do it cause it was seen as “elite” & the interest was in doing the advanced stuff but not spending any time on the basics.

We’ve moved on but it still remains an area that somehow the ATC are just not delivering right & there still is the remnants of “elite” attitude.

It is now vastly more complicated to teach basic fieldcraft & it’s just not something many have a lot of energy to maintain the currency. OME unfortunately is not going to be a goer until we can get the basics right.

We need a different model & likewise I can see the end product in my head but putting into to words & the route we need to take to get there is a lot more troublesome. I don’t think we will find the answer or solution within the ATC.

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What does OME stand for? I know what it is but can’t work it out :rofl: