The RAF Air Cadets’ National Shooting Camp has finally launched. The camp is a trial event brought about following a wide-ranging review of marksmanship and shooting within the RAFAC.
Just under 100 cadets from both ATC Squadrons and CCF (RAF) contingents have travelled from across the UK and are currently based at Beckingham Training Camp with invaluable support from RAF Digby and RAF College Cranwell.
The cadets have been split into three streams to allow appropriate training to be provided irrespective of a cadet’s shooting experience.
More than 30 support staff are also involved to ensure that the cadets, ranging from those with no shooting experience to those who have shot everything available to a cadet, get the right level of training and support.
In charge of the course is Officer Commanding the RAFAC Training and Development Team, Wing Commander Matt Oram RAFAC. He said: “As this is a trial camp we limited the numbers but received 987 nominations for the maximum of 100 places.
“One reason for the week is to help support those areas of the country where access to shooting is limited. It is good to see that those areas are well represented here.”
The course is a major undertaking, the camp has access to over 150 weapons (both training and for use on the range) and over 22,000 rounds of ammunition.
As well as training cadets to improve their shooting skills it is also serving other purposes.
Cadet Steven Pulanco from 261 (Guildford) Squadron, who is in Stream 1, is also using the camp as the residential element of his Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award qualification. He said: “I have not done any shooting with the cadets and so hope to get training on a range of weapons while I am here”.
In Stream 3 is Cadet Warrant Officer Josh Clegg from 59 (Huddersfield) Squadron. He is a graduate of the RAFC Junior Leaders Course and so is familiar with the weapons being used on the course. He said: “I am here to improve my shooting skills as well as develop my coaching skills, I am hoping to get a place on North Regions’ Small Arms Training Team and hope this course will help me prepare”.
Amongst the training staff is Sergeant (RAFAC) Adam Birch from 795 (Harpenden) Squadron. He is on the camp “to use the qualifications I have for the benefit of cadets. I will also be helping with safety supervision and coaching and general running of the camp as a whole”.
On the first full day of the camp cadets were training on and firing air rifles (Stream 1), being trained on the L98A2 Cadet General Purpose rifle (Stream 2) while stream 3 was using a DCCT shooting simulator."