So the title says why did we become staff…
Let’s hear why you did it and wanted to do
No bitching or complaining please of current setups, policies, rules etc
So the title says why did we become staff…
I’m an ex-scaleybrat with an interest in aircraft and guns. I wasn’t doing anything interesting with my free time and thought the RAuxAF was a bit too much of a commitment (plus options up here are pretty much Gunner or nah!)
I was CWO (c.21) and was asked by the CO if I wanted to become staff. I hadn’t really given it any thought to that point, I was working and going out with the person I married and our thoughts were on cementing that relationship. Which we did. I spoke to her about it and went for it and became a CI and spent 5 years doing that. Once suggested, I saw it as a way of giving back something of what I had learned and help cadets coming in gain something of the same which I feel I have done.
I had no grandiose plans or thoughts of self-aggrandisement in terms of going into uniform as even back then I could see that being in uniform didn’t realise anything extra. I went into uniform as spaces appeared on the sqn, was asked and thought I’d give it a go.
To give back what I got from the corps and to be honest I like the buzz I get when I help the cadets achieve things in life. Probably sounds quite sad but I still do get a fist pump feeling when I have a cadet who gets their broke DofE after months of work.
So here it goes aged out as a Flt Sgt aged 20 had spent the last 3 years teaching younger cadets various thing, Most of my friends had left before hand 2 were still cadets and my best mate was a Plt off at the sqn.
I was going through uni at the time so decided to take sometime away to concentrate on uni after a month was back at the squadron asking to be a CI…
The CO laughed and handed me the form all filled in and signed by him he knew me too well…
I missed the squadron, helping each other and all the activities so went back and got stuck in, doing adv trg and gaining my RCO ticket and going on annual camps also teaching drill to the older cadets.
My CO discussed with me going into uniform, I had said if there was a place at our sqn yes but I wasn’t willing to travel to the next local 2 sqns as the COs there I had an issue with. With the invention of ATC Sgts I said yes and became the first SGT in our wing.
I enjoyed what I was doing but the attitude of the WOs left a lot to be desired, I was a young eager member of staff luckily I have thick skin like a rhino and a fear of no one so when they kept pulling me up for not being a proper SNCO because I organised/ volunteered/ or went and done things the final straw was I became a WI then a SAAI. I was invited to a meeting with the wing WO and his deputy “we’re ATC we don’t do X,Y and definitely we don’t volunteer that’s for the VRT because they have to do it you should not be doing those course” I informed them of what I though of them and if they had issue then let’s take it up stairs. I left the room and my mind was made up next stop the officers mess where I could do the things that I was doing with out them and even get them doing more and the cadets enjoy it too. I got my bel and the DofE awards and then became OC sqn having never left.
it is good though seeing a cadet come in as a scared timid person and then leave with a bunch full of memories of what they did ready to take on the world with pride about them self and the confidence to match
I timed out as a CWO at 22 having declined the oppourtunity to stop being a cadet sooner and go for Sgt (ATC). It was never really in question that I would stay as a member of staff, the Squadron was where my friends were and I had been there for 9 years. (Moved away to uni but stayed on the books and still turned up outside of term time so I had effectively had a break).
I went Sgt (ATC) because that’s the way the wing was pushing everyone as they had quite a few people knocked back by the Gruppen Fuher. (The year I timed out they commissioned 1 person).
Did my SSIC and realised that I was in the wrong role, came back debriefed the course with my boss and asked for commissioning paperwork. Spent 4 years on my old Squadron as a Junior Officer and then our neighbouring Squadron needed an OC. I was approached by the WSO who used to be on my Squadron and told to apply and have been their ever since.
What a load of shoemakers.
I insist that ALL staff organise, run and do things, because I have all the way through my cadet life, although I’m backing off a bit to ‘encourage’ others. I don’t give a monkey’s about uniform or rank/status.
Fully agree with you, I had been a SGT 4 years and it was a common theme of them and us and how The NCOs done all the work and not once could I say that’s true. So it was either get my Flt Sgt or go for my commission. My CO (who was my best friend) said either way he would approve the paperwork…
My Wing Co was the hardest stumbling block he was an arrogant ■■■■, still in the corps (just) but I was told years later he tried to reject my commissioning paperwork but the group captain who I had met on numerous occasions and actually got on with told him “just because he’s not like you doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be commissioned, after all not everyone can be such an obnoxious turd like you”
I really wish I saw his face, a few years later I was there when the group captain put him in his place in front of 300 people calling him a BS merchant…karma
EX-CWO, a looooong time ago, 1024 (Isle of Wight), gliding scholarship & (proper) flying scholarship, loads of shooting, including 3 x Cadet 100 awards, camps, AEF, etc, etc.
So, my son is in the ACO, & it was my turn to “put the time” back in in order to repay my debt to the organisation & help others move onwards & upwards - undoubtedly my cadet experiences got me into the RAF as a pilot which then led to my current flying position.
For my sqn, Shooting Officer (organised the set-up of our own indoor air rifle range), SR & LR RCO, Aerospace Officer, mini-bus driver sometimes, whatever.
I timed out as a CWO under the old rules and wanted to continue the fun and enjoyment the organisation gave me.
i’d been a cadet and loved it, joined the TA at 17 and went to uni, stayed in contact and knew that i wanted to help - so i did and ended up as the Trg Off. went regular after uni and stayed in contact and as well as helping local ACF/ATC units gets free stuff, visits and camps/weekends etc… but never went down the SI route because i never had time, and in truth i’d seen that while regular NCO’s were welcomed with open arms as SI’s, Officers were treated a bit more warily…
when i left i knew that i’d gravitate towards the cadets - i also knew that it wouldn’t be the ACF because not only did i have no intention of doing the officer roles within the ACF (sitting behind a desk and meeting cadets on an annual basis…), i didn’t fancy going into uniform, so the ATC was the obvious - i also believed that regardless of my service prejudices against the puddle-avoiding, weekend-swerving, polyester-wearing, Focus ST driving RAF, the ATC was by some measure the best, most complete, most worthwhile, effective, most varied youth organisation in the country.
being a CI in the ATC, and helping ACF/ATC units while a regular, has given me some of the most personally and professionally rewarding experiences of my adult life. i’ll stop there!
Yup! That’s it. You put it better than I could.
As a gliding instructor nearly 5 decades ago I saw cadets arrive for a Proficiency Course (now a GS) as shy lads that had never done anything and leave a week later walking a foot taller having gone solo.
Squadrons achieve similar things and it is good to see the results.
I will admit that I also have a lot of fun along the way.
Never a cadet; in fact saw cadets as a pain in the ar$e as they always stood in the way of ‘that’ photograph at airshows!
Ex-RAuxAF, did 6 yrs before unit disbanded under Options for Change in 1994.
Joined local ACO unit to help out and use FC and shooting experience.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
In essence people joined/join as staff to be able to provide youngsters with an opportunity to do/achieve things, become ‘better people’ in terms of gaining confidence, self-respect/discipline.
Has anyone come into the Corps as staff with the motivation to go into uniform? Excluding former cadets many of whom are subjected grooming and auto suggestion as a cadets.
I wonder what the motivation is for those in the SMT and CS in admin roles?
i certainly didn’t - when deciding what i wanted to do with my now freetime and desire to give something back, and to give others the same opportunities that i had had as a cadet, i made no distiction between uniformed or non-uniformed organisations, or between national or local organisations, or between MOD sponsored or not-MOD sponsored organisations.
my decision making process was simply - what fits my life? what has the greatest impact? what is the most worthwhile?
I will admit when I first joined I wanted to become uniformed staff. Maybe because I never got promoted as a cadet.
However, that was secondary to me wanting to make a difference/provide young people with opportunities to do and achieve things, become better people, and to give back to the organisation that made me in to the (albeit grumpy, cynical) person I am today.
Now I’m in uniform I still give the same time, still do all I can for the cadets, and am still as enthusiastic as the day I rejoined. The day I don’t feel that, or the day I feel the uniform motivates me more than my desire to see the cadets flourish, is the day I leave the ACO.
Was a cadet back in the 1970s .Joined the RAF left in late 80s and decided to do something with my spare time and was looking for an RAF reserve unit.None nearby so wandered along to my local air cadets and many years later im still here .Now running (and enjoying running) my own sqn.The cadets havnt changed really they still have the same aspirations they always had and I still get a buzz when a cadet achieves something. Im also very proud of the sqn I lead. .
I’m not going to even come close to saying “to give something back” as it would be a lie. i don’t feel compelled by some righteous will to “do my bit” and “play my part” it is much more selfish than that, indeed it is more my own personal enjoyment and entertainment doing what I like.
2 weeks prior to my 20th birthday I was asked by the Staff “when do you turn 20 FS?” I answered “ah…we won’t bother with CWO papers then we’ll go straight for CI paperwork”
That give or take, was it.
The above conversation occurred on downtime of a weekend event and sure enough the next parade night I was invited into the OC’s office and sit down discussion on becoming a CI.
I was the first Cadet to have been asked in my time, all my previous SNCOs before me binned Sqn off before aging out or slowly dissolved away while at University only to return with a bag full of uniform and a head full of dreams of what the future held as they finished their study so it was quite a shock to have been asked as I really didn’t expect it.
I loved being a Cadet and particularly a FS. I did so with another FS and we made a great team. And really didn’t want to leave what had become a large part of my life.
As much as I accepted the “background” role of CI I wasn’t ready to give up my NCO ways. My OC was against the idea preferring me to take the Commissioned route but allowed me to apply for Sgt understanding I can follow his suggestion later in time, and the rest is history.
In my time as Cadet and Staff I was at a several Squadrons and realized what I had missed at my “mother” unit, no less in the area of shooting.
While at University I joined the local Squadron there and did more shooting in those 9 months than I had achieved in four years back home.
It was then that I realized what the ACO shooting was about and went about getting qualified and giving the opportunity to the Cadets that I wanted but missed out on myself.
I am now part of the Wing recognised team, we provide Training and shooting on a monthly basis and although the interest is limited at the Squadron I am with, the opportunity is at least there to get involved.
But shooting isn’t my life, and certainly not enough to keep me involved. It may not be to” give something back”, but certainly the cliché of watching the Cadets develop. From shy recruits to Cadets full of beans and Character to proficient and effective NCOs is very rewarding to be part of that development and process.
We are not in a socially deprived area, but every so often a Cadet comes through the door that I know would have fallen off the rails somewhere if it wasn’t for the influence of the Squadron. For some it is the routine they need, or a something with a focus and direction. Being a “youth worker” (which when it boils down to it, is what I am) is very rewarding.
There is of course also the joys of the Staff social side. Unfortunately many of the Cadets I was friends with I have lost touch with, unless they are also Staff, but the Staff I do have as friends I know many are friends for life. I have been to weddings, funerals, birthday parties and Stag dos all linked to the friends network linked to the ATC.
Why am I staff? Because I enjoy being around and working with some fantastic friends and exceptional volunteers, because seeing the beaming smile on a young teenager on an activity I made happen is reward you can’t by, because I get a real kick out of the role I play and would be lost without in my life.
Can’t agree more in our wing I’m in a very close group and the rest call us a clique at best but the truth is we are because we are extremely good close friends and leaving the ATC you can end up leaving your friends.
My cadet service ended in April 2015 after a seven year service and I knew that I wanted to continue as volunteer staff. I simply love the organisation… yes I said love even with the petty politics! I enjoy teaching and that is what I wanted to continue, I always remember the good ATC instructors, both CIs and RAFVR(T)/ATC, so I wanted to be just like those and give back something to the organisation. I’ve now been a CI for one year and aim to do it for another year whilst I finish my Nursing Degree then I hope to go into uniform.