480 Squadron News

Studley Survivors

Air Cadets from 480 (Studley) Squadron Air Training Corps recently attended a weekend designed to give them a taste of the experiences likely to affect downed pilots and to learn basic survival skills. Corporal Allely and Cadets Allum, Capper, Houlbrooke, James and Orme attended the weekend which was held between 9thand 12thApril 2010.

The Cadets spent the time at the SENTA facility in Sennybridge, South Wales, the second largest training facility in the UK. They experienced life outdoors in a military setting consisting of over 34,000 acres. The time spent allowed Cadets to get a taste of the Basic Survival skills taught to Royal Air Force Aircrew.

The first day of the course covered several aspects of survival, such as making fires, building improvised shelters and leadership skills.

On the second day, the Cadets were issued with flying suits and the basic equipment items carried by Aircrew - a pen knife, torch and a pen and pencil. Once kitted, the Cadets were dropped off in the middle of the training area for “Exercise Drop Off”, a 6km walk to find “downed” equipment that allowed them to complete their shelters and light a fire.

Day three began with “Exercise Rendezvous” where the Cadets had to meet with friendly “agents” to collect their communication equipment. After a short rest, the Cadets then set off on “Exercise Blister”, a 12km walk to recover an electronic component from their “downed aircraft”, whilst avoiding “Hunter Force” patrolling the area. Following Blister, it was time to have the first hot meal of the weekend and an early night.

However, “Exercise Wake Up” came a couple of hours later. Following the compromise of their camp by the Hunter Force, the Cadets had to evacuate the area and navigate to the ERV (Emergency Rendezvous) point to link up with the friendly forces. After decoding their individual passwords and claiming their Mars Bar prizes, the Cadets reached End Ex and were debriefed on their performance. The Cadets then returned to camp and had a well earned rest, returning home on Monday.

The Cadets found the course challenging but immensely enjoyable. Cadet Capper said “It was really exciting having to evade the Hunter Force and to be within a real military training area”.

The senior instructor for the course, Squadron Leader Doug Martin said “The Cadets performed really well and showed real grit and determination throughout the whole weekend. They all commented on the realism of the exercises, especially being able to experience it in a real military training area”.

The Officer Commanding 480, Flight Lieutenant Mark Hulme said “The Basic Aircrew Survival weekend is a unique opportunity for 480 Squadron and we are grateful to Squadron Leader Martin for continuing to organise this exercise for us”.

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