The RAF Regiment Work Experience Course involved travelling via train to RAF Barnham, joined by cadets from all over Britain. It was a three day course, excluding the travelling days, and involved physical exercise to the standard of the entry level RAF Regiment soldiers. We settled in on Monday evening. The Tuesday wakeup call was at 0600, the morning involved breakfast, inspections, and travelling to RAF Honnington to begin training.
Once the base was reached, the first activity was the bleep test where cadets aimed to achieve a score of 9.10; I managed to achieve a score of 10.2. This was followed by press ups and sit ups and cadet scores were compared with the RAF Regiment entry level requirements; I was able meet and exceed the minimum standard. The next activity was a swimming task, in which cadets had to swim 100 metres and tread water for an extra 2 minutes; there was no time limit which made this task much easier. After lunch, cadets attended a weapons presentation, where we were introduced to enemy weapons and the RAF Regiment equivalents. The final activity of the day was Battle PT, this involved extensive physical exercise including carrying a 75kg stretcher. During the Battle PT, cadets had the opportunity to give up by ringing a bell that was placed in the middle of the field. Staff communicated individually with each cadet encouraging them to give, testing their mental strength. Unfortunately a few cadets gave in and failed this task but I managed to stay strong and not give in. After dinner, lights out was at 2200.
The next day began with an introduction to the lifestyle of those training to become RAF Regiment soldiers. We then moved on to the assault course where there was an overview to each obstacle before the task was tackled. Cadets had 5 minutes and 15 seconds to complete the course. The course involved climbing a 6ft wall, a 9ft wall, walking across a plank with a width of a foot at 15 feet high, leopard crawling for 12 metres and climbing up over and down a 20 feet rope wall, amongst other challenges. All but three cadets were unable to complete the course within the time limit. After lunch, cadets were taken to the RAF Regiment museum which showed the history of the Regiment and the equipment they have used during their existence. The final activity of the day involved preparation for a presentation that the cadets would give about their chosen topic, which was researched during the museum visit.
The final day began with the presentation of the projects each group had been working on. The presentations had to be 15 minutes long, topics included the IRA, which was my group’s topic, and armoured vehicles, amongst others. Once the presentations were completed, the next challenge was the climbing wall. Cadets were faced with four walls of varying difficulty. No cadet managed to defeat the most difficult climbing wall. After lunch, activities involved field craft exercise where cadets were to save a downed pilot. The wounded pilot was carried on a stretcher across a field whilst staff “shot” cadets, changing circumstances in order to create new challenges and encouraging cadets to use their initiative in order to save their team members who were newly injured. That evening we prepared to return home.
The course was a challenging and a new experience, it has taught me not only about the RAF Regiment itself, but also about my own abilities and mind-set. I had the opportunity to test my fitness with those similar to myself, against the RAF Regiment requirements, in which I am glad to say I was able to meet. The RAF Regiment attributes are adaptability, professionalism, determination, loyalty, humility, spirit and intelligence; this course challenged each of these attributes and encouraged growth within each of these areas. I believe these characteristics are applicable to more than just the RAF Regiment; they can be used in everyday life. I believe it is a great course for cadets to undertake and would encourage anyone interested in testing their physical and mental abilities to do so.