New headquarters for Witney Cadet Forces

At last, the Air Training Corps Cadets in Witney and the surrounding area, joined Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Oxford, Mr Tim Stevenson OBE, Regional Commandant of South West Region Air Training Corps, Group Captain Eddie Cole OBE RAFR, and The Chief Executive of South East Reserves’ & Cadets’ Association (SERFCA), Colonel (Retired) Patrick Crowley, together with other local and military dignitaries at the official opening of their new Joint Cadet Centre at Witney.

SERFCA and Headquarters Air Cadets have worked closely together to develop this location for the Cadets and within a very short space of time, SERFCA were able to secure suitable funding to enable Witney to be developed into the Cadet requirements, sharing the costs between the Association and Headquarters Air Cadets, in order to re-house the Cadets. The Air Cadets are joined by the Army Cadets who have also relocated to the Joint Cadet Centre in a rationalisation of defence real estate in the town and to provide the ACF with the same excellent facilities.

Commenting on the new building, Colonel Patrick Crowley said, “We are delighted to be able to provide these Cadets and their Adult Instructors with a much needed new base with modern facilities. The new facility also allows us to maintain our strong military connections in the area whilst allowing the local youth community to enjoy the opportunities, challenges, skills and qualifications the Cadet Movements offer.”

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Witney Air Cadets meet on a Tuesday and Friday evening between 7pm and 9:30pm. If you’re aged 12 (in year 8) and 17, and you’re interested in joining a thriving and exciting youth organisation, please contact us by clicking here.

Potential adult instructors are also welcomed, with no prior experience necessary. If you are considering becoming an adult instructor and would like more information, please contact Thames Valley Wing Headquarters on 01235 547992.

Soaring Success

Cadet Marek Prielozny is on cloud 9 having participated in a residential gliding scholarship at RAF Syerston.

At just 17 years old, and with very few places available for the scholarships, Marek was up against some stiff competition to secure his place to represent South West Region. After a thorough sift and medical, he was selected as the lucky candidate and Marek undertook glider training earlier this month.

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With the pause in gliding to allow maintenance activity that will prolong the life of the whole fleet and allow a new generation to undertake glider training, this was a welcome return to soaring for not just the Corps, but for Thames Valley Wing and 2120 (Witney) Squadron.

Having achieved the requisite passes and continuous assessments, Marek was even permitted the opportunity to fly solo and has now achieved the new, highly coveted ‘Silver Gliding Wings’, only the second person in the whole Corps since the revised progressive training syllabus was launched in February.

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Speaking after the scholarship, Marek said:

“It was amazing to fly a glider and go solo! I don’t even have a provisional driving license yet but I’ve taken to the skies on my own and now I can’t wait to apply for Advanced Glider Training and to be a Flight Staff Cadet at the local Volunteer Gliding Squadron.

The course was hardwork, but I’ve learnt so much and I definitely have the gliding bug now”.

The Chief Flying Instructor, Sqn Ldr Hobson added:

“Marek undertook a good solo without any issues. He took well to the training and was able to improve his skills throughout the week. Marek is recommended for both Advanced Glider Training and the Air Cadet Pilot Scholarship”.

Cadet Prielozny has been at 2120 (Witney) Squadron since 2013 and was chosen as the nominee by OC 2120 due to his commitment, hardwork and loyalty to all things ‘Air Cadet‘.

Recruiting now!

2120 (Witney) Squadron, Royal Air Force Air Cadets is recruiting now!

We’re looking for young men and women between the ages of 12 and 17 to join us in time for a fun and action packed summer (we are open during the school holidays!) as well as the relocation to our brand new Joint Cadet Centre (opening June 2017)!

The Squadron does not have a waiting list, and our activities are aplenty, with opportunities very closely matching other youth organisations, notably the Army Cadet Force, the Scouting Movement, the Sea Cadet Corps and the Girl Guides.

Have a look at our activities page to learn more.

Cadet Development Trust Bursary

Cadet Warrant Officer Aaron Gibson (pictured) of 2120 (Witney) Squadron has just been informed that he is one of the recipients from the new RAF Cadet Development Trust, awarding £15000 to 23 cadets and junior staff across the Corps.

Conceived as part of the ATC’s 75th anniversary celebrations in 2016, it aims to provide a legacy for current and future generations of cadets and junior adult volunteers which will support their transition into full time employment, be that via college or university education, work placements or apprenticeships.  The ACO Honorary Ambassador, Gp Capt Carol Vorderman RAFVR(T), is the Patron of the Trust, and our Royal Patron, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, has also given her support.

CWO Gibson will use his bursary to further his education in fitness and wellbeing, and at 2120 Squadron we are lucky enough to have him delivering his skills and knowledge to both Cadets and Staff.

CWO Aaron Gibson

Speaking after the announcement, CWO Gibson said:

“I am thrilled to have been selected to receive a bursary grant and I look forward to applying it to my education, furthering my expertise and opportunities within the health and fitness industry. I am also looking forward to delivering enhanced sessions to the Air Cadets with my new found skill-set.”

Having endorsed the application, Squadron Commander, Flight Lieutenant Mike Caffrey RAFVR(T) added:

“CWO Gibson and the other 22 recipients are all worthy of this amazing new scheme. I am incredibly grateful to HQ Air Cadets for launching this scheme that will be a superb legacy of the 75th Anniversary of the Air Training Corps.”

First Aid Commendation

First Aid training is a key part of Air Cadet life, with the delivery of the British Heart Foundation Heartstart Award and St John Ambulance Youth First Aid Award provided to all new cadets within their first 6 months on Squadron.

16002920_10154134748281825_3858189308954453621_nOn the afternoon of Wednesday 14th December 2016, Cadet Corporal Luke Norris (17) found himself as the initial first aider on scene of an incident which occurred on Witney high street.

Corporal Norris came to the assistance of an elderly gentleman who was experiencing a medical emergency and in a life threatening condition requiring professional medical support. Corporal Norris, drawing on the training he had received as an Air Cadet, adminstered emergency first aid while he waited for the Paramedic support, and remained with the gentleman until he was taken to the local Accident and Emergency department at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford by South Central Ambulance. Sadly, the elderly gentleman did not survive his medical emergency, but would have suffered far more had it not been for the quick thinking and skills of Corporal Norris and the paramedics.

In recognition of his first aid skill, community spirit and selfless attitude, Corporal Norris received a Squadron Commander’s Commendation from OC 2120 on Friday 20th January 2017. This is the first Squadron Commanders’ Commendation to be presented in 2 years such is the stringency of the criteria in which they are awarded.

Speaking after the presentation, OC 2120 Squadron, Flight Lieutenant Michael Caffrey said:

“I am delighted to present Corporal Norris with this Commendation for his administration of first aid. It is truly heartwarming to know that the skills we equip the Cadets with here can make a real difference to the wider community, and I am incredibly proud of Corporal Norris for his actions. Whilst we hope that the first aid skills will never be needed, it is encouraging to know that on those rare occasions they are, we have young citizens prepared and capable. This commendation is wholly deserved and merited; Corporal Norris is a credit to this Squadron, the Corps and his family”.

First Aid is just one small part of the Air Cadet syllabus and is provided absolutely free to all members. For more information on Cadet life or to enquire about potentially joining us, please click on Contact.

Imperial War Museum Visit

Cadets from 2120 (Witney) Squadron were joined by those from 2507 (Bicester), 136 (Chipping Norton) and 1315 (Kidlington) Squadrons today (Saturday 21st January 2017) as they visited the Imperial War Museum, London.

Exploring the history of conflict in Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War to the modern day, Cadets learnt a great deal from the wide range of exhibits available, including the horrors of the holocaust through to the essential work of Britain’s security services, communications services and ‘secret soldiers’ of the SAS, SBS and the now retired Special Operations Executive (SOE).

Attending the event from 2507 (Bicester) Squadron, Cadet Flight Sergeant Amelia Salt said:

“I found the holocaust exhibition incredibly moving; the experience of those condemned by Nazi idealism was truly harrowing.

Not only was it a fascinating day, it opened my eyes to the socio-economic, technological and medical advances that are now so inter-linked with conflict”.

Speaking on behalf of 2120 (Witney) Squadron, Flying Officer Alistair Young added:

“The visit was fascinating and the trip today has opened the eyes of both cadets and staff alike to the horrors of modern day conflicts”.

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The trip, planned by 2120 (Witney), is the first in a series of cultural visits for 2017 exploring the roles and advancements of the modern military and its associated services.

If you’d like to join us and participate in the trips as a Cadet or volunteer later in 2017, click on the contact button for more information.

ACE Selection for IACE 2017

Cadet Warrant Officer (CWO) Aaron Gibson is currently on cloud 9 having been selected to participate in the 2017 International Air Cadet Exchange to Canada.

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CWO Aaron Gibson (left) and Cllr Norman MacRae, Chairman of West Oxfordshire District Council pictured on Commonwealth Day 2016.

 

 

CWO Gibson, who was not expecting to be selected, leaves the Air Training Corps this August when he reaches the maximum age he can serve until, described this as a fantastic swan song for his ATC career.

“I can’t believe I’ve been selected for such a prestigious exchange. I have always wanted to explore Canada and now I can combine this with my passion for the Air Cadets too! I assisted the District Council with the celebration event to mark Commonwealth Day 2016 and now I get to visit another Commonwealth country. It’s an absolute dream come true. I’m incredibly grateful to OC 2120 for recommending me and look forward to representing not only the ATC, but the town and district during my tour”.

“The International Air Cadet Exchange is a superb opportunity for any cadet wishing to apply and take on the challenge”, said Flt Lt Michael Caffrey, OC 2120 Sqn. “Selection is incredibly competitive and I am thrilled that CWO Gibson has made it through. He will be a superb ambassador for the Corps and for West Oxfordshire, and I am confident that this will be a trip of a lifetime and provide him with memories that will endure through the years”.

If you can see yourself as an Air Cadet and participating in an international exchange, please contact Squadron staff to arrange a visit to our Headquarters. Information on the International Air Cadet Exchange can be found here.