Monthly Archives: November 2011

Reserves Training and Mobilisation Centre (RTMC)


NEWS FROM RTMC – Chilwell

Airtpr’s Leo White & Poppy Gosling

 

RTMC

Arriving at Chilwell was an experience within itself. Initially we decided to stay at 677 so that all four of us could travel down to Chilwell together early the next morning.. our beds being the two man sofas in the crew room, ergo: no sleep and some serious boy snoring (Leo!!!)!

We arrived at Chilwell and found accommodation very similar to the delights we endured during our CMSR, but was slightly more impressed when we found out that RTMC (Reserves training and mobilisation centre) is able to mobilise over 3000 reservists in times of crisis.

The first two days were briefings (death by powerpoint.. it’s definitely a good idea to master the skill of sleeping with your eyes open before attending) a medical appointment (I’m officially qualified as obese, a very proud moment for me, thank you BMI) and kit issue (all very exciting, up until the point where they take it all from us and put it in storage). The first week we managed to finish before 1500 nearly every day. Apparently we were meant to be doing phys in the free time following knock off…

I was lucky enough to be sharing a room with Airtpr Turner-Dockery, the other female mobilising from 6 Regt (Who was not only ‘obese’. but apparently seriously ‘at risk’ from it.. yet somehow had a slightly lower BMI than myself..go figure!?) We managed to be in bed by 2000 every night, it was definitely required though. Most mornings were 0500..ish..starts for the girls. We started MATTs training and testing on the Thursday, with a PFA (which most of us passed with no dramas) followed by hours, and hours..and hours of CIED! It was actually quite an eye opening, productive lesson. Friday, we were issued our tour weapons and had our WHT (we were allowed to keep the Osprey, helmets and ancills we had been issued). They then decided it would be a fun idea to finish the week by gassing us, so they requested all of us finish the horrorbags we had been issued, don our suits and panic about the effects of CS gas. Unless you’re Leo, who managed to keep his cool and not panic throughout the entire course! I Thought it was a particularly nice touch when they decided to open the vents up on us as we were trying to de-kit…which lead to Airtpr Turner-Dockery causing all the poor innocent civilians on the train home to suffer from the effects of a nerve agent! (Top Tip: shower before you face the public after hanging out in the CBRN ‘testing facility’)

With the PFA over, it was time to focus on (or in my case, panic about) the CFT. There are some BIG hills at Chilwell.. and all of them are at some point included in the route. So I spent a lot of the weekend thinking about doing phys (both Leo and myself stayed on camp). On Monday we had BCD, they put together a pretty cool scenario in the mock afghan checkpoint that has been built. A lot of fake blood, shouting, pushing, and artificial smoke later we had all passed our MATT. (Even those who are completely squeamish.. No names.. Airtpr Oakey)

The next stage was navigation. We had a revision session, followed by a written test, followed by an orienteering type Nav-ex, which was used as a build up for the CFT..We were recommended to carry half CFT weight, but most of us opted for the full amount. I’m fairly sure we were meant to run the route..But after attempting the first hill, and with my obese status..myself, and the people I met up with along the way decided it would be a far more pleasant experience if we tabbed it! (there was a time limit so we couldn’t go too slow).

The next two days were spent on the range, day 1) zeroing and practicing for the ACMT and day 2) real ACMT. We do have SUSATs, so most of us found it reasonable. Although a little chilly..(I still can’t feel my toes).

Thursday was CFT day. I’ve tried to block most of it out of my memory. (Leo will say otherwise) It was hard, and sore, and there were some very cheeky hills..However it is far from impossible. The Pace bought us back in at 1 hour 57 minutes and 58 seconds, which was a perfect time. All I can remember is feeling awesome for the first 2.5 miles + first hill then halfway up the second hill threatening to vomit on the guys, verbally abusing the PTI for the last two miles (actually felt guilty at the end) and Airtpr Turner-Dockery singing the top gun theme tune for the last 20 metres (in between gasping for air).

655 Squadron AAC are recruiting for more information contact jenningsn144@mod.uk or tel no 01264 784285

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Shooting Success (Cadet LCpl Caitlin Green)


Shooting Successes

Cdt LCpl Caitlin Green enrolled as a cadet in January 2008.  Prior to this, she had never fired a rifle but was very soon spotted as a talented shot.

So far she has been awarded the 2010 Cadet 100 Smallbore Badge (top 100 nationally), has scored a possible 100 ex 100 in our County Cadet Force Inter-Company Smallbore Match and achieved Overall Champion shot at the 4 Division Target Rifle Competition 2011.

The following is an article written by LCpl Caitlin Green about her recent trip to South Africa:

“For two weeks at the end of September/ beginning of October, I travelled to South Africa along with 8 other shooters and 3 coaches from the Great Britain Junior Shooting Squad to compete against the South African schools.  There were several different competitions in the Schools Championship.

I competed in three categories: 10m Precision Air Rifle (Standing), 10m Precision Air Rifle 3P (3 position) and 50m .22 Rimfire (Prone).

Precision air rifle involves you getting into lots of restrictive clothing in order to reduce your movement which sounds a bit overboard but, as the nine ring is only as large as the pellets we were shooting, every little movement makes a huge difference!

The standing match was 40 shots in 1 hour and 15 minutes with time to change the targets.  I shot 377 out of a possible 400 which placed me in 8th position and earned me a place in the finals (where I stayed in 8th place).  1st Place was won with 381 out of 400, so between the 8 finals places there was just a single shot difference.

In the Precision 3P Air Rifle, you shoot in 3 Positions; 20 shots prone, 20 shots standing and 20 shots kneeling.  It’s a good thing you do the kneeling last because you end up with a dead leg afterwards!  It wasn’t uncommon for people to shoot perfect 200’s in the prone – the South Africans were really good.

The 50m Prone .22 Rimfire is completely different to shooting in the cadets!  The basic principles are the same but the rifles are in modern stocks (all different colours) that have been adjusted specifically to fit each person – really different to the wooden stocked .22s.  The 50m competition is also shot on an outdoor range so you also need to concentrate on what the wind is doing.  On the day however, the wind was flailing around everywhere, which made shooting easier said than done!

Each person shot a 60 shot match, had a half hour break, and then came back to the range for another 60 shot match.  The GB Junior Prone Team consisted of 3 people, including myself; we succeeded in coming 1st after narrowly beating the South African Team by 6 points out of 360.

Other events shot in the competition included the Sporter Air Rifle, which doesn’t have the same tight clothing as the Precision, making it a completely different challenge and there was the 10m Air Pistol.

It was a really great experience, both the shooting and meeting all the great people of South Africa.”

Cadet LCpl Caitlin Green, 8 Platoon Reading (REME), Royal County of Berkshire Army Cadet Force

 

OP TOSCA (Part One) Getting the paperwork


Blog Episode 1 The Journey Begins

Just for the record – and putting modesty aside for a
second – I’d like to say that I think of myself as a fairly switched on cookie.
I take a huge amount of pride in successfully juggling a full-time civilian
career with a part-time military one and to be honest very little succeeds in
catching me unawares. So in all fairness I agree that it shouldn’t really have
come as a revelation to me to be informed that actually I was a soldier.

You could be forgiven for thinking that over the years
the countless weekends that have I’ve spent cold, wet and grubby in some remote
corner of the UK would have been adequate proof of that to me. The necessity to
purchase a second wardrobe to accomodate all my kit should also have provided
me with a good clue, and the tendency for my civvie workmates to avoid asking
how my weekend went ( for fear of losing an entire morning’s productivity
whilst listening to war stories ) was surely a dead giveaway. That aside surely
the tell-tale signs that long periods of training had left me with, eg: being
unable to bring myself to ‘fat finger’ a map while navigating, cringeing at the
sight of civvies wearing camo in the high street or of course that marked
tendency of mine to break into full blown voice-procedure on my mobile at the
merest hint of a bad reception, should all have rammed the point home to me.
But no, despite all this and more my awareness of my chosen vocation somehow
eluded me, that is until last summer when something happened to bring the dawn
of realisation to me. A realisation that no amount of crawling around on
Salisbury Plain at 4am whilst setting trip flares had ever seemed to succeed in
doing so.

It took a visit from a young lady with a bag of letters
for the point to finally sink in. Of course I had heard rumours of possible
mobilisation before, every so often a Government of ours would commit to an
operation in some far flung corner of the world and our not under stretched
forces would then hastily task themselves with running around filling the now
all too apparent spaces in their ranks with a liberal sprinkling of Reservists
to actually get the job done. Operations come and go, Bosnia, Iraq, Sierra
Leone, and yes everyone does know someone who knows someone who got called up
for a free suntan and adventure holiday at the Queen’s expense, but to be
honest it was never worth getting too excited about as these rumours often
passed quietly as quickly as they came. It was generally agreed that unless the
infamous ‘Brown Envelope’ actually landed on your doormat there was no reason
at all to assume you wouldn’t be home at Christmas.

And so it was that on a glorious sunny morning on the
Isle of Wight last summer I was summoned from my kitchen by the doorbell, a
doorbell clearly being pressed enthusiastically by someone who was just passing
through and had no intention whatsoever of loitering any longer than was
absolutely necessary. Clad in boxer shorts and with hair like Chuckie I
shuffled to the door, newspaper under my arm, toast in one hand, tea in the
other, and succeeded in opening the door with a succession of body parts
normally reserved for other purposes. The ever-cheerful vision of loveliness
standing on my doorstep in her regulation- issue trendy-blue Post Office shorts
seemed equally challenged in the free hand department, but after we exchanged
greetings that were muffled only by toast on my part and bubble gum and a biro
between the teeth on hers she offered me an armpit full of letters before
accelerating away with a lightened load.

With hindsight I like to think that had she been aware of
the magnitude of one of the letters that she had just dropped off, then she
might have stayed for at least one round of toast and a cuppa to make sure I
was Ok. She had of course no idea of what she was delivering, and of course at
that stage neither did I. I shuffled back to the kitchen with an armload of
letters offering me, in turn, stuff I had no use for and new credit cards with
which to afford the stuff that I had no use for, oh and an innocuous white A4
envelope. Had this particular envelope indeed been ‘official brown’ in colour
rather than white, ie: as per the mythical mobilisation papers of legend then
it might have aroused my suspicions. I dare say that my ‘switched-on-cookie’
radar would have flagged it as worthy of further investigation, and I would
probably have swallowed my toast, turned off Kylie and sat down to give it the
attention it deserved before opening it. But no, it was merely white and so it
was that on that fine summer’s morning I absently mindedly opened it as Kylie
thumped out on the radio. I read it very briefly, stopped and read it again
slightly less briefly and then read it even less briefly again, before
retrieving my toast from the floor. And then the penny at last dropped, I was
indeed most definitely in the army…

The letter was noticeably short of small talk, infact it
managed to come to the point in the very first sentence, it said who I was –
picked out in capitals – where I was to report to, at what time I had to be
there, and what I was to make sure I had with me. It reitterated this point
several times and the majority of the letter then seemed to be concerned with
the consequences of me not being where I had to be at the time that I had to be
there with the stuff that I was to have with me. It’s a curious trait with
people that if you tell someone that they are not allowed to do something in
particular then they will want to do it, and equally if you tell them that they
have no option but to do something in particular then suddenly they can think
of a thousand reasons why they actually need to be somewhere else entirely,
doing something else completely. As Army-barmy as I was and indeed still am (
after all hadn’t I religously spent my Saturday nights for many years crawling
around in the dark when the rest of the world was tucked up in bed ? ) I must
admit that right at that particular moment I was falling into the latter
category.  Did I mention that I had
volunteered for this?!

Sir Stuart takes senior role with Air Cadets


British business supremo Sir Stuart Rose is
flying in to help the Air Cadets!

Sir Stuart has agreed to become the ACO’s
first ever honorary vice-patron and will bring his astute business sense to the
cadets.

A keen supporter of the organisation and
Royal Air Force, he is the former executive chairman of Marks & Spencer..
He said: “I
am delighted to be involved with the Air Cadets. It is a fantastic organisation
and I look forward to getting involved.”

Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore Barbara
Cooper has been liaising with Sir Stuart over the last 12 months and is
delighted that he has agreed to take on the role.

She said: “It is fantastic for the Air Cadet Organisation that Sir Stuart
has agreed to come on board. He has an illustrious background in the retail
industry and I’m certain that we will benefit greatly from his involvement with
the Air Cadets.”

Born in 1949 in Gosport, Sir Stuart’s early
years saw him living with his family in a caravan in Warwickshire until his
father received a posting with the Civil Service in Tanzania. He was educated
at Bootham School in York from the age of 11 and began his working life at the
BBC, where he held an administration assistant role.

Sir Stuart first joined Marks and Spencer in
1972 as a management trainee and remained with the British retailer until 1989.
He joined Debenhams in 1989 and became a director of The Burton Group in 1994.
In 1997, he joined Argos as Chief Executive, before joining the Arcadia Group
in 2000 as Chief Executive, where he turned around its fortunes, selling the
group for over £800m.

Sir Stuart returned to Marks & Spencer in
May 2004, this time as chief executive. Two years later he was named 2006
Business Leader of the Year by the World Leadership Forum for his efforts in
restoring the fortunes of M&S. In 2008 he was knighted in the New Year
Honour’s List, before being appointed Chairman of the Business in the
Community.

Following his knighthood, Sir Stuart became
executive chairman of Marks & Spencer, a role which he relinquished in
January 2011.

Earlier this year Sir Stuart, who’s father
served with the Royal Air Force, was invited to visit a typical Air Cadet unit,
where he was able to see first-hand what cadets do on their weekly parade
evenings.

Once at 78 (Wembley) Squadron Air Training
Corps, cadets put him through his paces. The squadron’s dedicated flight
simulator proved to be particularly appealing for Sir Stuart, who holds his own
Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL).

Sir Stuart spent time talking with cadets and staff and also proved to be a hit
on the target shooting range, where he achieved a bull’s-eye using the cadet
No.8 rifle with one of his opening shots.

Sir Stuart will be visiting more air cadet
units in the future, with visits to 1475 (Dulwich) & 282 (East Ham)
Squadron’s having already taken place [Stuart has visited Dulwich and East Ham
Squadrons.