From Cadet To Professional Soldier…A Z Coy Cadet’s Story….

14 March 2017

From Cadet To Professional Soldier......

I joined cadets in 2009, I’m guessing you thought I walked into that building and started taking command from the start, that the first time I put on the uniform it was perfect, it wasn’t. When I joined I was a mess. To start I didn’t know how to iron or polish just like everyone else, I didn’t have the confidence to talk to people during NAAFI I would stand on my own avoiding people not knowing what to do.

That’s how I started! For those who know me, know that before I left I didn’t have a problem going in front of the Company or helping anyone who came to me and to the best of my ability. This change came from years of training and help from the amazing instructors that allow the ACF to function, in particular the instructors from my platoon.

Over my cadet career I tried to put myself on anything I could get on - first aid, adventurous training courses and many more. I was the only cadet in the Company to take my signals career all the way to cadet assisting signals instructor helping the Company teach cadets signals, I also completed JCIC and SCIC to further my ability to teach others.

Why did I do so many courses in cadets? For me my rule was the more I knew the more I could pass onto the cadets so I took all these courses so I could teach more and more to the cadets and further their training and knowledge. All these courses furthered my knowledge and confidence in myself as well.

Many people don’t realise that there are often sacrifices you have to make to get to the top. On my final annual camp my Company didn’t have many staff and really needed me to be able to teach lessons and control the cadets because all the NCO's were on the 3 star board but I was being put on a field craft course so I could do my master cadet later that year, but knowing the cadets would really benefit from me being there to train them I marched my way to Major Groves and told him I couldn’t do the course! He told me “Your telling me you don’t want to master cadet” and I replied it’s not worth it and went back to my Company, that wasn’t the first time I turned down a course so I could be there to train the cadets because yes it’s important to further your knowledge, but there’s no point if your never there to give it back to your cadets.

December 2015 draws an end to my career in cadets, 6 years of my life well spent but I was looking to the next stage, joining the British Army.

August 2016 I start my Phase 1 training joining the Royal Military Police. Phase 1 was a tough 14 weeks full of blood, sweat and tears. Would I say cadets helped me through this? Yes absolutely! I remember my first night my section commander came up to me and asked if I was a cadet? I told him I was, he told me to build a set of webbing then show him so I took this set of webbing I’d just made in the room and he inspected it for a few minutes then said "good set of webbing now teach the rest of the section I will inspect them tomorrow". I was amazed, day one and I was teaching my section and there were many more times over the next 14 weeks that my section commander gave me something small to teach them. In the nights whether it was rifle slings or taking them out and teaching them drill in the evenings. I used to have a quiz night once a week with the section to keep them on top of their knowledge and always helped them out with anything they needed, this was one of the biggest contributions to me getting best recruit at the end of Phase 1.

You’d think that the army’s basic field skills where similar to 3-4 star level field craft and you’d be correct I had a big head start in the field. On my final exercise I took my section for a section attack with grenades, searches and four casualty’s to extract. After the attack my section commander came to me and said “Well done that attack was phase 2 infantry standard” that was so amazing to hear this from a 16 year infantry solider.

I walked away from Phase 1 with best recruit and I can say without a doubt that cadets has helped me get to where I am. Now I’m at Phase 2 learning arrest procedures and self-defence by day and revising law and legislation by night and preparing to enter the field army as a fully qualified military police officer.

Pte Wyatt Chappell