15 June 2018
Ex Blue Benson
On Saturday 9th June 71 cadets and adult volunteers from Oxfordshire ACF joined cadets from the other cadet forces, scouts and schools at a Youth Muster organised by the RAF at Benson.
A full day of activity was laid on including up close and hands-on with equipment, aircraft and weapons systems, indoor clay shooting, command tasks, fun obstacle course challenge, fly past and icing on the cake an opportunity to fly!
For our cadets, the day started early as we had to be there for 0800, but this was not an issue and all duly arrived in time. Once through the gate we moved as a Battalion to the aircraft hangers where we were divided into 3 groups or as the RAF called them ‘sticks’.
First activity on the agenda was a look at the helicopters, Chinook and Puma, plus the training aircraft used by the RAF cadets. Also within the hangers were displays of rescue equipment, and stands from the Army (Rifles, Guards, Household Cavalry and Engineers and Army Air Corps including an Apache helicopter).
Next, we moved to a briefing room for a pre-flight safety brief. We had to choose between a Chinook or Puma. Once we had been issued our flight helmets it was off to the aircraft and into the bright blue sky. What an experience. Many of the cadets had never flown before and were obviously nervous. However, these nerves were soon overcome as they took in the experience and sights from above South Oxfordshire.
Back on the ground with everyone a buzz with excitement and carrying smiles as broad as their face it was time to move locations to the sports field for a spot of lunch.
The afternoon saw the cadets and others pitted against each in an ‘It’s a Knock out’ style competition. Using giant inflatable obstacles cadets had to complete a number of team based tasks. This was great fun; even the warm up was one huge game.
Whilst this was taking place we were treated to 2 fly pasts, one from the Red Arrows and another from a Spitfire.
The Benson Youth Muster was a truly exceptional day and the RAF at Benson must be commended for putting the event on. All service personnel involved were welcoming and enthusiastic which they maintained through-out the day, no mean feat when you have 500 plus teenagers invade your camp!
As for Oxfordshire ACF you were a great advert for the ACF with your behaviour and turn out, but more importantly, you grabbed the opportunity and ran with it with great enthusiasm and good humour (anyone spot the ironing board?).
Well done all.