HORSHAM’S Air Force Cadets recently had the chance to climb trees in Mount Gambier and camp at an Air Force base.
The 422 Squadron AAFC, based in Horsham, is recruiting new members.
Horsham’s Leading Air Craftsman Ethan Jolley said cadets did a variety of activities and missions to prepare them for the Defence Force.
“A huge thing is the experience you get in aviation. We do a lot of flying and there are a lot of scholarships you can complete,” he said.
“Cadets get to do their pilots license and their first solo fly. There are a lot of stepping stones for youth to go onto the Air Force or commercial flying.”
Mr Jolley said learning field craft was a memorable experience.
“It’s about being in the bush, learning how to navigate and moving silently without being detected,” he said.
Cadets learn general service knowledge for the Navy, Air Force and Army.
“They learn about their ranks and how they operate,” he said.
“It’s a really good opportunity for those who want a career in the Defence Force. There are promotion courses every year where cadet’s can further their skills and understanding.”
Mr Jolley said Riley Timms and Cameron Lang were products of the 422 Squadron, and now served in the Army.
He said the 422 Squadron had close ties with the squadrons in Ballarat, Bendigo and Swan Hill.
“When we go on wing camps (Victoria state camps), we got to meet people from all over the state and build connections with people who also want to serve,” he said.
The 422 Squadron is the lone cadet program in the Wimmera.
Mr Jolley said he was shy and timid when he joined as a cadet as a 13-year-old and that the program made him who he was today.
He was school captain for St Brigid’s College in 2017.
“I’ve grown from there and learnt a lot about leadership. It has really prepared me for everyday life. You learn how to make your bed and look after yourself,” he said.
“You go away for two or three weeks and you have to prepare your uniforms, be organised and learn time management skills.”
Mr Jolley said there were activities cadets participated in that people didn't know about.
“We did a lot of precision based shooting with the 22’s,” he said.
“The best one is probably bush camps where we slept under tarps, cooked meals on small stoves, trekked around and learned survival skills.”
Mr Jolley said cadet’s had the opportunity to camp at an Air Force base.
“You go around and learn about different roles and gain a good understanding of what each role entails,” he said.
A cadetship with the squadron can start anytime between 13 to 16-years-old.
Cadets meet at the Horsham Army Barracks on Mondays.