I started off as a cadet in the mid to late 70s, in Luton. After 80 days short of 39 years as a RAF Regular Logistic Supplier, my last last 12 years as a WO. Rejoining 80 days after I retired, I am now a Volunteer ex-Regular Reserve WO, delivering youth engagement for a RAF Station in Cambridgeshire. I very nearly joined the ATC as a CFAV, but my wife said that we needed to grab back the 7 years spent apart, while I was deployed or posted elsewhere; and a chat with the CACWO one evening at Cranwell, had him tell me, that I could say goodbye to my weekends; that I already knew, from my days as a service instructor. Whilst serving, I was an ACLO or DACLO at most of the stations on which I’ve served and been a Service Instructor at a few ATC Sqns, including the first to have girls join in October 1980 and the No.2 OS (Gibraltar) Sqn, when it first started in 1984/5. One of the best time to be the ACLO, was while I was a the SWO (5 years); no-one on station would be inclined to say “Sorry, we can’t host cadets for that hour next week.” (Wonder why?). I also served on the RAF’s & ACO’s Dress Policy Committees and assisted in the initial drafting of the AP 1358c. I spent a lot of time as a NCO & WO, trying to improve the lot of the Junior Ranks and transferred a lot of that to my youth work. I did 2 instructional tours (both trade & MLC), was a course designer and a defence training analyst deliver STEM activities, all youth visits, oversee Work Experience and am the station’s link with the Air & Defence College; I am also a NSPCC trained Designated Safeguarding Officer. I am also qualified to teach with the Level 3 Award in Education & Training (useful to have), which I did as part of my resettlement.
In my opinion the RAF Air Cadets (both ATC & CCF(RAF)) is a great organisation, as are all of the cadet forces and uniformed youth groups. There are some things that I’ve seen that I do not like and do not tolerate; and there is still progress to be made. I am glad to be still part of it all. If it wasn’t for Venture Adventure, I probably would not have joined Per Ardua Ad Astra.