16 January 2017

The CCF did not travel to RAF Cosford with high hopes, we had only received minimal training, due to the short notice of the event. The drill sequence contained moves none of us had ever heard of before. Despite this we were determined to put in our best effort.

The first event was fitness and Sgt Dalgliesh led our team with the flamboyant charm that has become a staple of our presence at AST. The fitness team did incredibly well, remaining in the contest right till the very end. Junior Corporal Breach deserves special mention for the herculean effort he put in, as he was the last man on the field and was able to overcome incredibly tough competition.

The next event was drill, our effort in this aspect of the competition was hindered by the absence of Cadet Coode, who had finally succumbed to his illness after bravely running anyway. Despite this the team put forward an admirable effort, earning praise from the judge.

Following that was the command task and in this event Flight Sergeant David demonstrated exceptional leadership skills in what was an incredibly demanding challenge. Special mention goes to Cadet Tonks who stepped up to assume the position of 2ic after the NCOs were blindfolded. Overall the cadets acted as a team during the task, with the efficiency and diligence that the CCF expects of cadets.

Aircraft recognition is an area in which Abingdon always excels and this year was no different. Not a single one of the team of four got below 20 out of 30 and Flight Sergeant David again deserves special mention for his impressive score of 27.

The RAF Cadets usually pay little attention to shooting, preferring to view it as the domain of the Army Section. Despite this we performed well in the Dismounted Close Combat Trainer; our shooters scored admirably with multiple groupings of 20cm on targets 100m away.

The next event was general knowledge. Essentially a multiple choice exam our cadets were able to seize first place thanks in no small part to our desperate last minute practice. The test demonstrated the excellent knowledge of our cadets on everything from how to move in the field to how to recognise a C130 Hercules.

The First Aid team hadn't had much time to prepare, various timetable clashes and the mounting pressure of GCSEs and A-Levels meant the team had only an hour of practice. Despite this the team performed diligently in the CPR and scenario sections, earning high praise from the supervisors. Thanks to the out of school revision that the team had done they were placed an impressive second overall, a massive improvement given the team came seventh the year before.

Finally the day was over and it was time to hear the winners. No one in the team expected us to score very highly, we felt that too many things had gone wrong and that we hadn't had enough time. Therefore, the announcement that we had actually come first overall by five points was met with a mixture of elation and disbelief. We gladly accepted our reward and prizes for Junior Corporal Breach and the RAF Knowledge trophy. The RAF section truly excelled at the competition and I look forward to see us go on to even greater heights as we progress to the national stage of the competition.

Sgt Maddison

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