“To foster the spirit of adventure and develop qualities of leadership and good citizenship” is just one of the goals the United Kingdom’s Air Training Corps hopes to guide their cadets toward.
Part of cultivating this spirit involves summer camps held throughout the U.K., but sometimes cadets have the chance to travel to other countries.
Cadets recently had the special opportunity to see how the U.S. Air Force operates in Ramstein. As part of a week-long summer camp, cadets were provided a tour of a C-130E Hercules aircraft, as well as hands-on activities pertaining to certain Air Force specialties.
Some of the activities the cadets participated in included driving a bulldozer and a high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle, learning how to keep power going and wearing explosive ordnance disposal suits.
Cpl. Charlotte Bennetts, 18, was one of the cadets who got to don an EOD suit.
“It was quite fun, but it’s so heavy and it weighs (you) down,” said the cadet from Newcastle, England. “It got a bit scary when I was running up the hill, but it was really cool.”
She said she also learned about what it takes to be a member of the EOD flight.
“You have to have a lot of will power to be able to wear the suits and do the job these men do with explosives. It’s quite dangerous,” she said.
With members ranging in age from 13 to 20 years old, the training corps helps keep kids off the street and become good citizens, said Flight Lt. Stephen Allen, a volunteer officer with the ATC who also serves in the Royal Air Force.
“We want them to get as good a life experience as possible,” said the officer from Glasgow, Scotland. “They learn leadership skills, socialization skills and skills for life.”
Staff Sgt. Edward Albietz, 835th Civil Engineer Squadron EOD technician, said he hopes the cadets will understand a little about what’s going on downrange after their experience here and, “maybe they’ll be interested in this and want to be EOD in the British Army or Air Force.”
The ATC also gives the cadets the chance to meet people and experience things they never would have otherwise. Although there are training camps in Great Britain, this was a special event for the cadets because it was the first time many of them had driven heavy-duty equipment or a Humvee and had seen what tasks EOD performs, something that couldn’t have happened without the help of the Air Force members stationed at Ramstein, Lieutenant Allen said.
“I’m grateful to the military members who gave their time to show the kids what they do in their jobs and for putting their resources out there for the cadets to experience,” he said.
Cadets also travelled to the NCO Academy at Kapaun to challenge American cadets at warrior activities and participate in contingency skills training.
To learn more about the Air Cadet Organization, visit their Web site at www.aircadets.org.