Cadet Warrant Officer Lewis McCallum form 498 (Wishaw) Squadron has been awarded “Best Cadet” in West Scotland Wing for 2022.
Lewis first joined the Air Cadets in 2015 where he quickly made an impression, earning Top Student on his Initial Training Course and best recruit for that year. Lewis had a real aptitude for Drill, furthering his interest though Drill & Ceremonial camps and leading to him representing Scotland & Northern Ireland in 2 drill competitions. He established himself as an outstanding sportsman, representing the Wing in football, swimming, cross country, road marching, as well attending a skiing camp.
In 2019, he achieved a place at the prestigious Air Cadet Leadership course at RAF Cranwell, where he was awarded Top Student.
Lewis has a keen interest in aviation, attending RIAT and the National Aerospace Camp, culminating in the award of a flying scholarship last year, where he spent 12 hours training at Tayside Aviation before undertaking his first solo and earning his gold wings. His dedication to his squadron in teaching younger cadets and leading parade nights, including online during lockdown, earned him the Air Cadets Commandant’s Certificate of Good Service.
During the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic CWO McCallum volunteered to re-train, from being a pool lifeguard, to work in a school hub in Motherwell supervising the children of key workers. At that time, while studying at university, and at only 17 years old, he utilised the skills learned at the Air Cadets to make sure these children had fun and felt safe while their parents worked to support the pandemic effort. He then went further by working for his local NHS board as a Contact Tracer, and excelled in the healthcare setting. In 2021 he was promoted to a graduate position in Public Health due to his abilities, which allowed him to make a greater impact on his local community. He works alongside a team of consultants, nurses and environmental health officers to minimise Covid in the community and in health and social care settings.
In 2021 he made it through the application process to be accepted as an Officer in The RAF and Royal Navy, where he hopes to be a Warfare Officer, and one day a Captain! He is currently at Edinburgh University in his third year of University studying for an MA International Relations degree.
Lewis says, “From the day I joined cadets, my confidence, communication, team working and problem solving skills improved. This has set me on a path to becoming an officer in the RAF/RN, and often if I’m asked how I’m able to do something which many twice my age can’t do, I respond by telling them about the Air Cadets!”
His Squadron Adjutant, Flying Officer Caroline Pryde said of him, “Lewis is an all-round advocate for the Royal Air Force Air Cadets, and epitomizes what young people can achieve from being part of the Corps. His time in 498 has helped develop him into the adult he is now and he stands proud of his achievements. He has put his knowledge gained from the staff in the air cadets to use in his personal life and excelled in his education and career to date.”
Wing Commander Jim Haley, Officer Commanding West Scotland Wing said, “CWO Lewis McCallum is an outstanding Air Cadet, with first class leadership, communication and engagement skills, and who is an excellent ambassador for the ATC. His integrity and personality resonate with the younger cadets of his Squadron and throughout the Wing, and he is a role model to his follow cadets.”