The Autumn Term meant a number of new faces in Benenden’s Combined Cadet Force (CCF) – a nationwide movement, run in partnership with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and schools, which gives young people aged 13 to 18 the chance to develop personal responsibility, leadership and self-discipline through a military approach.
Above: The Benenden CCF Contingent
CCF Contingent Commander (and also Benenden Maths teacher!), Barry Imms, tells us more:
At the start of the Autumn Term the CCF Contingent welcomed a new intake of cadets, with it nearly doubling the size of the unit. The new cadets embarked on a few basic lessons and the senior cadets started a fast-track syllabus for them to achieve their Army Proficiency Certificate.
The early enthusiasm of all cadets continued as the weeks unfolded and new challenges presented themselves. These included first aid training, navigation training, drill, military knowledge, planning exercises, fieldcraft and some air rifle training. Every weekly parade night also begins with a formal inspection with each cadet awarded points towards the section competition.
The new intake were taken through a number of exercises to test their newly acquired knowledge. One of these required them to move silently (a difficult skill for a Benenden cadet!) and find lettered glowsticks whilst senior cadets hunted them. The hunter force turned up with enthusiasm and soon had the junior cadets sent back to the start; however, this enthusiasm was hard to maintain and soon evolved into star gazing - not yet a military skill!
In the final week before half term, cadets undertook a series of tests. The senior cadets were given a navigational exercise to complete which had a casualty simulation thrown in to catch the cadets off guard and test their new skills. The junior cadets faced their military knowledge test (covering Army ranks and the structure) and then the drill test to gain their berets, which is a rite of passage for all soldiers and has been introduced this year. The cadets were nervous as they marched in a group of three towards Captains Imms and Johns and were then questioned further but all held their composure and scored sufficiently to be awarded their berets, just in time for their CCF Field Day.
The final CCF event was a trip to 36 Engineer Regiment in Maidstone for the Field Day - a day filled with realistic training delivered by serving soldiers and officers of the Royal Engineers. This included the cadets receiving training in battlefield first aid, tackling the obstacle course and learning how to search for Improvised Explosive Devices (known as IEDs).
These were all skills they would need for the final event - a battlefield simulation which required the cadets to search a safe lane through a minefield, administer first aid, move the casualty to a helicopter landing site and then complete the obstacle course in the quickest time. The whole day was a great success and is a credit to the efforts of the cadets and the professionalism of the soldiers who ran the day on our behalf. It capped off a brilliant start for all concerned with the CCF.
|CCF administering battlefield first aid
||CCF during the Field Day - it mush have been early on as they are still smiling!