Activities at 2120 (Witney) Squadron
There is a huge range of activities available at 2120 (Witney) Squadron, and we hope that the images and text shown here give you a great idea of what it is like to be a Cadet or volunteer.
A key element in the Air Cadet training syllabus is Adventure Training. We participate in a wide range of activities, some of which are detailed below. All activities are thoroughly risk assessed and supervised by experienced and qualified instructors.
Cadets can achieve National Governing Body certification in many of these activities, there are also opportunities for adult staff, and in some cases cadets aged 18+, to gain nationally recognised instructor qualifications such as Basic Expedition Leader, BCU Coach, Mountain Leader (Summer) and Mountain Bike Leader.
Each year cadets are given the opportunity to spend a week long camp on an operational RAF Station during the summer, easter and autumn breaks. In 2016 cadets from 2120 (Witney) Sqn visited RAF Henlow and RAF Cranwell.
During camp cadets will be accommodated in barrack blocks and dine in the Junior Ranks Mess. During the week they will visit various sections around the Station, giving them a valuable insight into life in the Royal Air Force. The camp programme will also include flying (sometimes in an operational aircraft), sports, shooting, adventure training and visits to local places of interest.
The Squadron also has an allocation of places for a weeks camp at one of the two National Air Cadet Activity Training Centres (NACATC’s). There is a NACATS at Windermere in the Lake District and one in Llanbedr, Gwynedd. The NACATC’s are used as a base of operations for a wide variety of activities including rock climbing, abseiling, kayaking, mountain biking and hill walking.
Thames Valley Wing run additional AT camps at MOD estates, during which cadets can take part in various adventure training activities. Individual Squadrons may also organise adventure training camps, spending weekends or longer at various locations throughout the UK or abroad.
Cadets are also given the opportunity to attend ‘greens’ camps at Pirbright Camp and various other locations. These camps concentrate on shooting, camouflage and concealment and fieldcraft skills, with a large night exercise usually included in the program.
Each year several lucky cadets from the Wing are selected to participate in the International Air Cadet Exchange. The IACE program involves Cadet Organisations from twenty member nations from across the globe. Each member nation plays host to a party of foreign cadets and staff for several weeks.
Current member nations are:
United States of America
Being a large community supporter is key to the life of an Air Cadet. 2120 (Witney) Squadron is a large part of the community and is often on hand supporting local events, ranging from small scale events assisting the town council, right through to large scale where we are part of the organisational team, such as the annual Witney carnival held each July.
Drill and Ceremonial
Drill teaches Air Cadets teamwork, discipline and how to follow orders. It also ensures a consistent appearance in public, particularly on notable dates such as Remembrance Day or Battle of Britain Sunday.
Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme
The Air Training Corps is proud to be the UK’s largest operator of the The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, and 2120 (Witney) Sqn is an extremely active participant.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is available at three separate levels – Bronze, Silver and Gold. You can achieve your Award by completing a personal programme of activities in four sections (five if you’re going for Gold) – Volunteering, Physical, Skills, Expedition and for Gold, a Residential. The Volunteering, Physical and Skills sections of the award must be undertaken for a set period of time, this time varies depending on whether or not you have previously completed the award at a lower level.
The Volunteering section is usually covered by the Squadron’s community work, while the Skill section can be completed through participation in various ATC activities, for example Classification Training, Gliding and Shooting. The Squadron also has an active Fitness Training program in place which covers the Physical section of the Award.
We have a dedicated staff team with a great deal of experience in both planning and conducting expeditions in all kinds of terrain, and you will receive expert training and guidance to prepare you for your expedition section. Indeed several members of staff are Award Scheme Expedition Assessors and Supervisors. On return from your qualifying expedition you will be required to produce a short report, detailing your experiences.
Finally the Residential element of the Gold Award can be achieved through attendance at a range of ATC courses, such as the Air Cadet Leadership Course, or the Personal Awareness Course at Amport House.
Fieldcraft takes Air Cadets into ‘military field conditions’ and teaches them skills such as camouflage, concealment, stalking, escape and evasion. These skills aid Cadet development and their progression on military skills exercises such as the bi-annual Thames Valley Wing “Tactical Leadership Courses” (TLC).
Every cadet that joins the Corps is provided free training is essential life saving skills. These start straight away with the British Heart Foundation’s “Heartstart” award.
Cadets can progress to the St John Ambulance Youth First Aid and Activity First Aid awards. These are recognised qualifications following successful assessment, and each Cadet is awarded a certificate and badge to mark their achievement.
At age 18, Cadets can be trained to deliver first aid training as either Heartstart instructors, or by qualifying as a First Aid at Work instructor.
Flying and Gliding
It wouldn’t be the Air Cadets without flying and gliding!
The Air Training Corps is fortunate to receive support from the Royal Air Force with access to their fleet of Tutor T1 basic flying training aircraft, and our own fleet of Vigilant motor gliders and Viking conventional gliders. Cadets also have access to gliding simulators which are a low cost, all weather ground training facilities that permit continuation training.
At age 16, eligible Cadets can submit an application for an Air Cadet Pilot or Gliding scholarship. These provide training to potentially solo standard and this training is recognised by several aviation charities.
Cadets may also have a chance to fly in military aircraft, from fast jets to large transport aircraft.
Cadets are given the opportunity to try their hand at target shooting using a variety of weapons systems after thorough training and assessment. These start at air rifle and progress to full bore rifles, with all shooting conducted on military shooting ranges. These ranges vary in length and cadets can shoot up to distances of 250 metres.
Those more talented Cadets can obtain marksmanship awards depending on the weapons system and the grouping. The most talented Cadets are usually selected to participate in a large military shooting competition, the elite Bisley 100. Those Cadets selected will represent the Air Training Corps in shooting competitions against the Sea Cadet Corps and Army Cadet Force.
The Air Training Corps has a strong sporting heritage, and competitions are regularly held for the following sports:
Not every Cadet will compete in a sport, but will be given the opportunity to take part in fitness classes and other team sports that foster a spirit of teamwork and competitiveness.