3 May 2018
SI Marcus Ades, Tenterden Detachment, B Coy
During the week I am a Chief Engineer for a manufacturing company in East Sussex, at weekends when I’m not being a cadet leader I am a Firearms Instructor for the National Rifle Association at Bisley, I teach new shooters and other more advanced courses.
How do you think you’ve benefited from being in the Army Cadets?
Where to start? Man-management, personal confidence, enormous satisfaction and pride from seeing the cadets develop from shy young teens into confident young adults. My circle of good friends who I can rely upon has grown more than I thought it would. Everyone along the way has helped and encouraged me.
Why did you decide to join?
Like a lot of instructors I am an ex-cadet, I joined as a cadet in 1981 ish! Loved it from the word go, memories like competing in the Cumberland Sword Competition to detachment weekends stayed with me all my adult life. When I left cadets my work took me travelling so I could not commit the time to being an instructor, I eventually changed roles to where I am now so one of the first things I did was apply to be a CFAV. Meeting one person from my cadet days again was a nice surprise, Major Gatter is still about and never looked better (enough buttering up do you think?). My old DC I found out is in the local RBL so I regularly meet up with him.
What are your favourite ACF activities and why?
Fieldcraft hands down. Being outside in all weathers, the wetter and muddier the better. No good fieldcraft story started with “It was such pleasant weather”. I have a couple of physical problems so it’s a tad harder to do the long walks for me but the event outweighs the issues. I so wish I had changed my work 30 years ago, I missed out on so much in the ACF.
Have you faced any challenges in life that the ACF has helped you overcome?
Where to start, I used to suffer from mild to mid anxiety, being a CFAV has helped me deal with it, get past it, and also importantly to realise I’m not the only one. Most people have it to a degree, recognising it I can understand and help the cadets with being shy and nervous. Talking in front of a crowd was my worst nightmare, from the first day on Familiarisation & Assessment I knew I had to work out how to deal with that once and for all.
Every night at detachment is fun, it’s corny but why would we do it if it’s not? The adults in the ACF I work closely with have become good friends. Especially my PI and AIC groups, they will always be firm mates. As for action and adventure, a few weekends and an annual camp under my belt has given me the taste for it, I hope the 49.983 year old body puts up with it!
Do you think being in the ACF will help your career/job/future prospects and, if so, how will it help?
My management style has changed vastly for the better, it has been noticed at work by colleagues and my MD. If I ever change jobs without a doubt my ACF life will now feature heavily on my CV, it is respected in industry for the commitment and skills we learn in the ACF. It jumps off the page.
Do you think you’d have got the same benefits from joining another youth organisation? If not, why not? Although they do great work I could not see myself anywhere else. This is hard work and worth doing. At the end of a weekend I am tired but buzzing.
What difference do you think your friends and family have seen in you since joining the ACF?
My work colleagues/friends at the NRA have been a fantastic help. Most of them are ex-services and encouraged me. They also taught me the million and one acronyms (official and slang) you need to know. To see how regs and ex-regs feel about the ACF greatly encouraged me. My other friends just want me to stop banging on about how great it is! My family are my support network. My wife Seonaid has been the one to keep me going when it was tough, she has seen a change for the better in me and has encouraged me all the way. My 8 year old can march already, she is a future cadet CSM!
Can you tell me about a time in the ACF when you really challenged or surprised yourself?
As a PI I was asked at very short notice to give a 15min speech to a group of employers about being a CFAV, in earlier times this would have been my nightmare. It went well and was a good lesson to learn.
What are you most proud of / or what’s been your best moment since joining the Army Cadets?
Most proud personally of my HC grade on the AIC, could never have done it without my cadre friends. Best moment so far seeing 3 of our cadets lay a wreath at the Menin Gate, Their attitude, approach and drill was spot on. We also had great compliments from the crowd.
If you hadn’t joined the ACF what would you be doing now?
Vegetating on the sofa and complaining about the youth of today. Getting off the sofa to help, guide and have fun with them rather than moaning about them is a far better use of my time.
Anything else you’d like to add?
My son joined as a cadet soon after I did as an adult. Seeing him on Remembrance Day laying a wreath for our detachment in Tenterden wearing my Great Uncle’s medals from WW1 was an immensely proud moment. Every day I am honoured to be his dad.
The training for me to become a CFAV was long. I took the full time as it suited me to do so. The training team, my detachment staff, cadre groups, OC’s and even the senior cadets I have worked with have all helped me along the way, I am grateful to them all to have helped me get to where I am now.