Staff Sergeant Gregory George, Dartford Detachment Commander tells us his story

7 February 2019

Staff Sergeant Gregory George, 48, Dartford Detachment Commander. Kent ACF Squadron RE

Whilst in the ACF I have passed my Adult Leadership and Management (ALM) Course - successful completion of the course qualifies CFAVs for promotion from Sergeant Instructor to Staff Sergeant Instructor or from 2nd Lieutenant to Lieutenant and for the role of a Detachment Commander.

My current job is in:

Board IT Support – Team Leader, Service Delivery at Coretech, a WPP Company.

I have an Open University Master’s in Technology Management

How do you think you’ve benefited from being in the Army Cadets?

Being a member of the Army Cadet Force has improved my team leadership ability, all round confidence, communication skills, and, equally important, helped me to become a more well-rounded person in both my personal and professional life.

Furthermore, working in a highly pressurised environment in my professional life and the pressure of trying to complete my Master’s, being able to switch off completely by attending detachment or camps is great way to remove that from the equation the stress through having the fun I do with cadets.

That said, I still regularly run sanity checks to keep myself in check, especially with working with the cadets and adults at Kent Army Cadet Force, all in the very healthiest sense of course…and to the cadets I have worked with, you know what I’m talking about;).

Why did you decide to join?

I used to be an Air Cadet with 1039 Squadron in my youth and actually applied to join the Air Training Corps first. I also looked into joining the Signals with the Territorial Army and was on the waiting list to join the Sharpshooters in Bexley. Not receiving any feedback, I then decided to apply to Kent Army Cadet Force and here I am now 3 years on living the dream.

What are your favourite ACF activities and why?

I enjoy shooting very much and I had great exposure to weapons and the ranges whilst working with the County Training Team as 3 Star Rep for RE Squadron. There is not a lot in it in terms of what I enjoy most with Kent Army Cadet Force as all the activities I have involved myself with are all equally fun, and that includes the social aspect.

Have you faced any challenges in life that the ACF has helped you overcome?

Being a member of Kent Army Cadet Force has moments that encourage you to think carefully when presented with challenges on how best to solve problems.. This skill helps me every day in my personal and professional life. Although probably not relevant, I received Highly Competent in my ALM course for problem solving, too.

“Fun, friendship, action, adventure” – do these describe your time in the ACF?

Absolutely. You’re part of a family at Kent Army Cadet Force, mixing with people with various personalities, perspectives, preferences, opinions in life that continue to help shape your own philosophy on life. I also now have a larger network of connections as part of this group.

Do you think being in the ACF will help your career/job/future prospects and, if so, how will it help?

Being a member of Kent Army Cadet Force has already helped me in gaining my current position in my current employment. The level of security clearance you gain after completing the adult instructor joining process transfers to the professional world, where qualities such as being conscientious, self-sufficient, and trustworthy are equally as important as experience and any first class degrees. Volunteering as an adult instructor with Kent Army Cadet Force is an excellent reflection of your character and your curriculum vitae. Working as volunteer adult instructor with Kent Army Cadet Force gives you something you do not get from normal work.

Do you think you’d have got the same benefits from joining another youth organisation? If not, why not?

As I said, I applied to join the Air Training Corps first, so yes. All the volunteer services have that one common denominator that is relevant across any Cadet Force group.

What difference do you think your friends and family have seen in you since joining the ACF?

I think I have a much healthier outlook on life. I know my sister and brother were very proud of me joining Kent Army Cadet Force.

Can you tell me about a time in the ACF when you really challenged or surprised yourself?

After transferring as 2iC to Staff Sergeant Scooby Stewart from a successful Rochester Detachment with close to 40 cadet members to accepting the Detachment Commander position at a closed Dartford Detachment, with no experience and only the confidence of Major Bloor, I initially felt there was a high probability that I would not succeed.

Several of the cadets were parading at other detachments and the handful of cadets who returned were parading from Basic Level to 3 Star Level. I had to find a way of delivering the training that would be suitable for all members that I found challenging initially. With the help of PI Nick Davitt, we achieved that and further rebuilt the confidence within the Detachment and our numbers are steadily growing again, despite some cadet departures.

Current Detachment cadet members have attended camps and events in the local community, promoting Kent Army Cadet Force locally. We have some great characters in our group, too, and I do mean the cadets. Lance Bombardier Porter recently was top of the class in a recent shooting event and awarded Marksman class - that gave great confidence my Marksmanship Principles classes I teach does actually work!

PI Davitt has since left for personal reasons – thanks for all your help.

I now have a very capable replacement Sergeant Instructor in Scott Pearse, with his help, and hopefully the addition of a female instructor (tbc) in the near future, we are working together continually to deliver a much more complete and more fun training programme, as well as encouraging cadets in improving their discipline. Needless to say, the support of the team at SHQ further helps with delivering on that objective.

Things are really gelling well for the Detachment right now for us and all the curves are heading in the right direction.

From where I was a year ago to what I am achieving with my fellow colleague instructor at Dartford, I never thought then that we would have made this much progress.

I’m continually looking at ways to make training as fun and relevant as possible for Dartford. It’s all about the cadets and delivering the best fun for them.

What are you most proud of / or what’s been your best moment since joining the Army Cadets?

Completing my training to receive my Sergeant stripes, working as 3 Star Rep for RE Squadron with County Training Team, passing my Adult Leadership and Management course, being made Detachment Commander, and being promoted to Staff Sergeant, which was completely unexpected. I’m hoping to add Skill-at-Arms qualified instructor in 2019.

If you hadn’t joined the ACF what would you be doing now?

There is a high probability I would have joined one of the other Cadet Force groups.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I would just like to thank the OC for County Training Team, Captain Bilsland for offering me the opportunity to join as 3 Star Rep, and Major Bloor for giving me the opportunity to take over as Detachment Commander at Dartford. Also, Sergeant Major Barnes at CTT, Staff Scooby Stewart for putting up with me at Rochester, and the Squadron TO, Lieutenant Blair, in advance for offering to mentor me when I get around to applying for the Adult Under Officer role, assuming my application is approved.