Over the last few years Air Cadets from 1220 (March) Squadron have competed at a national level in various forms of target shooting. This all starts with initial training and cadets have to complete full training on the rifle and then pass a weapon handling test before they are able to go to the range.
FS (ATC) Goodall and 1220 cadets at the weapons training session at 1220 HQ.
The training is completed to a schedule, prescribed under the safe training scheme, by either a Weapons Instructor or a Skill at Arms Instructor (SAAI) holding the new qualification. Newly qualified as a SAAI, Flight Sergeant (ATC) Brian Goodall recently conducted his first training program with 5 cadets and one member of staff from 1220 (March) Squadron.
The training includes safe handling, marksmanship techniques and care of the weapon. It is a challenging schedule which means the students have to be focussed and dedicated to the task in hand. It was good to see that following completion of the training all students passed their test.
That’s not the end, however, merely the start. They will undergo further training and coaching on and off the range, to enable them to work towards marksmanship awards and earn a place in the shooting team to compete in the various competitions open to an Air Cadet. Hopefully they will be part of a winning team in the future.
Corporal Aleks Deaves said “The course was hard and intense, but it was great when I found out that I had passed my test and could take part in the next organised shoot”.
Previously trained cadets Sergeant Scott Goodall and Corporal Alex MacRae have both recently been awarded Region Marksman awards.
One of 1220 (March) Squadron’s newest cadets is right on tune, having been asked to join the Air Cadet Organisation National Marching Band.
Josef playing in the Air Cadet Organisation National Marching Band
The squadron bandmaster, Flight Sergeant Brian Goodall noticed a call for tuba players to attend the corps marching band camp during the Easter holidays. Although not yet a full member of the squadron band, it was known that Cadet Josef Pankhurst (14) is able to play the tuba.
After contacting the director of music and forwarding a video of Josef playing his instrument filmed on the Flight Sergeant’s iPad he was invited to attend the camp. Whilst at camp cadets learnt to march with their instruments and play quite a few new tunes. They also practised in groups of instrument type, and used singing as a way of warming up. As a full band they came together to conduct performances at Chatham Historical Dockyard and Dover Castle.
Throughout his very busy this week Josef took time to keep us informed of his activities. The formal end to the camp was a dining in night, where as the youngest member of the band he was chosen to be Mr Vice and gave the loyal toast.
Josef has now earned his prestigious gold musician badge to wear on his uniform and has been invited to perform with the ACO National Marching Band at several performances later in the year. The first of these was the St. George’s day parade along Whitehall in London.
Josef said “This was my first camp with the Air Cadets and I was really nervous but the others made me feel welcome and I ended up really enjoying it. I am looking forward to music being a part of my cadet career and the staff on the camp were really helpful”
For further information on 1220 log onto the website at www.1220atc.org.uk .
The Cadet Inter-Services Skill at Arms Meeting (CISSAM) is held at Pirbright Ranges each year and 1220 Squadron was selected to attend for the third year running. To be eligible to attend, the cadets practise firing the cadet service rifle at long ranges in the run up to CISSAM and compete against other air cadet squadrons in the Commandant’s cup. The top 20 teams that enter are selected to attend. The team of 4 from March achieved 3rd place in the Commandant’s cup.
On the weekend of the CISSAM competition, the 20 air cadet teams compete with 20 teams from the Army Cadet Force and 10 from the Sea Cadet Corps. 1220 had a team of four firers, a butts marker and was coached by Flight Sergeant Brian Goodall. The competition has several different shoots to take part in, including a rifle pairs which involves two cadets running to the firing point together before shooting at targets as they appear.
1220 cadets at CISSAM
After the team competitions have been completed, the best individuals are selected to represent their corps in the inter-cadet competition. Cadet Flight Sergeant Steven Pugh was chosen to represent the Air Training Corps as he was ranked third in all of the air cadets attending, and eighth overall. He was awarded a Cadet 50 badge for being one of the best 50 cadets in the country and a Corps Blue for being chosen to represent the Air Training Corps.
The air cadets won the inter-cadet competition and Flt Sgt Pugh was awarded a gold medal along with the rest of the team.
The final competition is the falling-plate shoot. Each team runs to their firing point, and then it is a head to head race to shoot down ten plates. The winning team goes through to the next round of the knock out competition until there is a winner. This is the team’s favourite event and again the 1220 team managed to get through to the second round.
Cpl Alex MacRae was the butts marker and he said “I’ve really enjoyed being a part of this competition and helping it run by doing the butts job. I’d really like to take part and will be working on my marksman skills to see if I can get in the team next year.”