Welcome to the first 241 Squadron quarterly newsletter
Welcome to the first 241 Squadron quarterly newsletter
Vol 8 – Jun 08 Dear Readers, I’m back, but for the last time, we have decided that it is now time to hand the reigns of this editorial-ness over to some other unwilling candidate so stand-by. Since the last issue, the usual plethora of activities have taken place, some of which are covered by this edition. Most importantly we won the nomination for the best squadron in London and South East Region, this puts us top of some 175 odd squadrons in the South East of England so well done to all. Please take extra time to read the enclosed information sheet on our final inspection date. Regardless of the result and to celebrate the efforts of the cadets and staff, instead of a normal parade on the 3rd July there will be a BBQ at the sqn so put it into your diaries! GCSEs/A levels/exams and whatnot are drawing to a close now. So if you have been away from the squadron for a while revising, make sure you come back for the summer, a lot of planning has gone into developing fun and useful courses and lessons for cadets (not to mention Duke of Edinburgh expeds in the Lakes) and it is now up to you to take advantage of them. which we slept in. After this we then began our practical leadership tasks. This involved a member of the section taking control for each leadership task and completing this task to the best of his/her and the sections ability. During this phase we were all being assessed on our leadership skills and how we delivered a briefing to the rest of the section. These tasks were difficult and were designed to pressurise the leader into making decisions. After completing 4 out of 7 tasks in the evening we returned back to the patrol harbour and got to sleep in temperatures of - 4°C. We then woke up at 0600 the following morning and continued with these leadership tasks. After completing 6 out of the 7 tasks we prepared for the 4 mile speed march back to the camp in full combat marching order (webbing and bergen). This would physically and mentally test us all as this had to be done in the fastest time possible. When reaching Crowborough Army Training Camp our section felt a sense of achievement as now the weekend had come to an end and all that we needed to do was to get all of our stuff and head home. Cadets, inevitably as summer approaches many of you will be off to exotic locations, be it Spain or Skegness. Please don’t forget to let your section commanders and flight commanders know when you will be away, it makes our lives a lot easier. Well; there is not much more to be said. Needless to say you will soon hear of the result of the Lees Trophy and I would like to thank the parents now on behalf of the staff and NCOs for supporting your sons and daughters who have all contributed to making us the best squadron we can be. Enjoy. Ajvir Ajvir Sandhu Flight Sergeant IC No. 2 Flt & Editor 241 Sqn Newsletter www.buy.at/241squadron Please continue to use our webshop by shopping online via www.buy.at/241squadron. For every item bought a donation is made to the squadron. Retailers include play.com, Marks & Spencer’s, Amazon, John Lewis and Field & Trek. General News NCO Cadre 15th – 17th February Cpl Dominic Ischt On the weekend of the 15th-17th February a group of NCOs and senior cadets from both 241 and 2324 squadron participated in the NCO cadre at Crowborough Army Training Camp. This weekend was an exercise that helped improve the leadership skills for all those that attended. It is also a BTEC approved course and all of those who are taking part in their BTEC needed to attend. The weekend was split up into two phases. First of all we had the blues and drill side of things. This involved things such as teaching us how to prepare for a billet inspection and how to teach new drill movements to less senior cadets. To round things off, we were assessed on this and every participant of the course had a specific drill movement which he/she had to teach to the rest of a squad. At lunch on the Saturday the billets were handed over after being inspected and the next phase of the NCO cadre had begun. This phase of the exercise involved the practical leadership and “green” side of things and took place in the Pippingford Park training area. When both sections arrived we set up a safe patrol harbour and our bashas When getting back to the SQN everyone had a debrief on how they had performed and how to improve their leadership skills in future. I think that all who attended will agree that this weekend was a great learning facility and has given us invaluable skills to use and develop in later life. McGrath Trophy 27th April On the 27th April 2008, 9 sections battled it out for the McGrath trophy. Norman McGrath worked as a sniper in the Second World War and then went on to serve over 50 years with 241 Squadron as a Warrant Officer; sadly he passed away in 2002. In his memory came about the McGrath Trophy, a fierce battle between all 9 main flight sections. It is a core military skills competition with the sections competing in Drill, First Aid, Shooting, Orienteering, Command Tasks, and General Service Knowledge as well as having the opportunity to race the camp assault course. Each event is intensely contested for, as each point counts in securing an overall victory (as can be seen in the previous 2 years results!) In the month leading up to the competition every parade was used as training for the competition and when the big day came, tension was high, who would win? My section, 5 section, did not get off to a great start. We felt we underperformed on the orienteering following some poor navigational skills, but we were sure not to let this hamper our spirits. Throughout the day in each event we put in our maximum efforts not knowing how the other sections were performing. When it came to the results being announced after a long day, it was clear that it would be a close battle. 5 section did not win any events, however, we consistently came in the top 3 or 4 sections for every event (apart from orienteering!) and this was enough to secure our victory. We became the first 2 Flight section to win in the 7 year history of the competition and to finish it off nicely, despite it often being made clear that it was not a flight competition, 2 Flight won overall also for the first time. The competition is one of the highlights of the year, often it seems that the training is long and sometimes not so enjoyable but everyone always has fun on the day. The McGrath Trophy is very similar to the Inness Sword which is a competition with the same events, but run between all the squadrons in the wing to find the best squadron. To be on the Inness Sword team is very prestigious, as it means that you are one the best cadets on 241. In the past 3 years we have won it twice and are looking for victory again this year. If anyone is interested, speak to FS Sandhu. Inter Squadron Athletics 10th May Cdt Anish Pathak Arriving at the sqn early in the morning, we psyched ourselves up for the day ahead. Sitting on the bus made me think how lucky I was to be part of a squadron, which did so much for the cadets, we were all really excited about the whole day and the challenges it would bring with it. As the day kicked off so did our nerves. The first event was the 100 metres and the people taking part felt extremely nervous about their first race but the encouragement that everyone gave and received was a warming reminder of the friendship and teamwork that makes us 241 Squadron. Throughout the day, the results got better and better and the chances of winning were becoming more and more realistic. Adventure Training Peak District Rock Climbing 2nd-15th May Cdt Claudia Ruffini On Friday 2nd of May 16 Cadets, NCOs and staff assembled at the squadron ready to set off to the Peak District for a 3 day weekend of Rock Climbing. Kit and luggage was all tightly packed onto the minibus before we departed and so the journey began. The drive took no more than 3 hours and on our arrival we were managed to successfully fumble in the dark with poles, pegs and sheets in order to put up the various camping tents. The following morning we woke early to avoid other climbers and to ensure we found a good place to climb. This was a good idea because an hour or so after we set up the ropes and harnesses, other climbers began to swarm the area. On the Saturday we managed to get a full day of Rock Climbing on the gritstone while the weather was decent and the rock dry. While the more experienced members of the group tackled harder routes and improved their climbing skills, first time rock climbers learnt new skills such as jamming and smearing and the general technique of climbing and belaying. I can say from experience that these techniques aren't hard at all to pick up and that it's great fun to explore challenging routes and it's important not to give up. On Sunday, we got a good morning's rock climbing but unfortunately the weather failed around midday and as it's incredibly tricky to climb on wet rocks, we were forced to pack up and head into the village instead. Nevertheless everyone was given the opportunity to try some great routes improve their technique. The village was small with few shops but this didn't stop us from enjoying the free time to relax, buy food or climbing gear. The camping experience was better than expected; the breakfast bar was particularly good, serving hot drinks and full English breakfasts. Pub dinners were conveniently just around the corner and food wasn't too expensive either. Unfortunately we didn't manage to get any climbing done on Bank Holiday Monday because it rained for most of the night so without further ado we headed back to the squadron. Overall the trip was great fun and I'm sure it was enjoyed thoroughly by all those who came. Thanks to all the staff that helped with the organising and coaching of the trip. Special Courses Sri Lanka 1st - 15thApril FS Caroline Dent Myself and FS Troy joined 344 Sqn for this trip. We were the only members of 241 Sqn that went so although it seemed a bit daunting at first, but we soon made friends with the cadets from the other squadrons. The field events were in full swing - the cadets of 241 squadron won an abundance of medals, and even though the field events were extremely far from the viewing stands, the constant encouragement for the cadets was still heard from the other side of the stadium. We set off on April 1st and arrived in Sri Lanka the day after. The first day was primarily for relaxing and adjusting to the new time zone and the intense heat before we began the activities. Winning so many medals, we all thought that we stood a good chance of winning but unfortunately, the results were not in our favour, and we came a close second. However, a positive to come from coming second is that it gives us something to aim for in future - at the 241 squadron we can always improve and strive to get better and overcome new challenges. Our first encounter with elephants was one we won’t forget. Seeing them in an orphanage where they get fed and cared was moving. One elephant even had a leg missing that had been blown up by a land mine. After feeding them and watching them we went into the river and helped wash them and sat on their backs as they squirted us with water. The Inter Squadron Athletics exhibited our athletic prowess; although we didn’t get what we went for (first place!) the cadets that took part can proudly say that they tried their hardest for our squadron. We also went on a safari in the pouring rain which didn’t prove to be the best, but was still amazing. Seeing many wild animals up close and having to keep quiet in case they started to get agitated was quite worrying. Up ridiculously early, we watched monkeys while we were eating breakfast and then drove up to a tea plantation and found out exactly where we were buying our tea from. Another activity was mountain biking. Some shabby bikes were unloaded off the back of a van and with a helmet each we prepared to go. It was already boiling and we hadn’t even started. Hours of biking, and over 1000m high it proved to get more and more difficult until the rain set in; and we whizzed down each hill until finally finishing at the end soaking wet. We stayed in some lovely hotels but this was not to be on the expedition phase through the jungle! Primarily it was to get people’s Silver D of E awards so full expedition packs were on and we were raring to go. Doing an expedition in the jungle is slightly different. Although we didn‘t gain much height, we covered a far distance and in the heat it makes it that much harder. We were often attacked by leeches when wading through rivers and they got quite literally everywhere. When we finished, we did a high ropes course where there were many different bridges zip wires and allsorts amongst the jungle. Enjoyable for those not scared of heights! After a long 3 days of walking and not washing we arrived at the finish, happy to get a shower and some nice food. We had one last phase of the two weeks to go. good job we were doing and how it was nice seeing people our age helping others within the global village. Although she couldn’t speak English very well she had practised this speech for some time and spoke it very well. Even though it didn’t feel like we had made an immense amount of change to the school, she called us a gift from God. It was not long after that we found ourselves back in England. Inspired by this trip, myself and FS Troy have now applied to do a similar expedition next year to South Africa. Promotions / Awards Promoted to Corporal: Josh Beveridge Emily Channon Jonny Dawson Ross Davdison Matt McCormack Shahaab Qaisar Adam Sinclair Darren Southcott Promoted to Sergeant: William Browne Promoted to Flight Sergeant Kirsty Troy Promoted to Cadet Warrant Officer Michael Cross Promoted to Adult Sergeant ATC Dan Goldman Congratulations to all! This was a community project on a school in a small secluded town. Having been travelling around the bigger cities, this was going to be slightly different to normal. When we arrived at our hotel, it was all very nice; clean with running water, TV, bottles of clean water to drink and shower etc. When arriving at the school, it looked dull, old and broken. Some of the kids came along to help, and as they didn’t speak very much English it made it all the more difficult to communicate. As they week went on we found ourselves sanding the grills, filling the gaps in the walls, painting the desks and chairs, painting the grills/ walls and other bits as there was lots to be getting on with. The kids seemed so happy with us helping them, so we challenged them to a game of netball; which seemed to be the preferred sport they played. During the week Lt Col Anton Gash from the Military came and visited us whilst working, and said what a Your Views This newsletter has taken a fair amount of time to prepare. We would appreciate your views on it. Is it worth the effort? Have you enjoyed reading it? How can we improve it? Also if you have any other comments on the squadron we would love to hear them too. Please use the contact form at: www.241squadron.com/contact.php Forthcoming events: st nd Bronze DofE Exped- 21 -22 June th Lees Trophy Inspection (Compulsory) 25 June th L81 Shoot- 28 June rd Sqn BBQ- 3 July th th Bisley- 10 – 13 July th L98 Shoot- 20 July th Cadet Summer party- 24 July th th Gold&Silver Exped Practice-25 -27 July th nd RAF Leuchars (week 1)- 26 July-2 August nd th RAF Leuchars (week 2)- 2 -9 August rd th Gold&Silver Lakes- 23 -30 August For a more detailed calendar go to the forum.