A Review of 2018

Reported by Cpl Cawley

11th December 2018

2018 for 2203 Hatfield & de Havilland Squadron has been both worthwhile, and extremely enjoyable. We have made improvements not only to the squadron, but also our team's morale and sense of achievement. It's been a great year for the cadets - we've attended activities and events such as Wing Ex, camps, and many many more which have boosted our determination, knowledge and respect. Not only have we contributed at strenuous competitions, but we have also attended events such as remembrance - in which we have represented the RAFAC as a whole.

In April, 2203 released it's brand new squadron badge, and was presented by our now retired Wg Cdr Gilbert. The day was attended by parents and carers of cadets at the DeHavilland Aircraft Museum in London Conley, and the cadets looked extremely smart as they were inspected by the Wg Cdr. Cadets and NCO's were tasked with helping to set up the event, and make sure all cadets were there. At the end of the day, we all celebrated by having home-made cakes and biscuits after the day was done.

The following month, a selection of cadets and NCO's from the squadron volunteered and were chosen to attend one of the most daunting and toughest events in the air cadets: Wing Ex. The event was held at Longmoor Training Camp, in which RAF personnel train in their careers. It was attended by other cadets who had been chosen around the wing to attend the event, and it was our job to compete in various activities in order to finish as high as possible in the final scoring table. Unluckily, we weren't able to get above squadrons who train their cadets for events like these constantly. Most cadets at our squadron agree that training on that level is not as enjoyable. You're always a winner if you take part! While we didn't fully succeed, we all took home a great sense of morale, knowledge and determination which all help in becoming an ideal cadet in the corps.

In early July, the cadets were given the absolute honour of meeting Prince Edward, the Earl of Essex at a visit to the University of Hertfordshire where we demonstrated our skills in drill and uniform quality. This was clearly a very important event to take place for the squadron, as this is the closest interaction with royalty that many other squadrons will not experience. The day was very hot, though - so hot that we could see the once shiny shoe polish start to melt! It was truly an event not to miss and made our cadets thankful to be part of the cadet corps.

My personal favourite event that happened this year was the RAF Coningsby camp in Lincolnshire, which took place in late July. 5 cadets in 2203 were transported up to Coningsby to take part in a week long camp that gave them the opportunity to demonstrate leadership skills that are vital for any cadet wanting to be promoted to an NCO. At the camp, we got the opportunity to take part in a shooting event, watch Eurofighter Typhoons take off, and visit different units of the base to be educated of how the structure of an RAF base allows the system of air operations to run smoothly and effectively. We also experienced what it was like to contribute in many roles that the RAF offer, such as Air Traffic Control, sitting in a Typhoon, and waking up early in the morning! It was a great time to make new friends and hold new memories.

The most important event of the year was remembrance - especially in 2018. Marking 100 years since the guns fell silent in 1918, 2203 made an amazing effort to remember those who had fallen in both World War 1, and all other wars fought by soldiers who defended our country. Cadets volunteered to assist in being a banner bearer, a wreath layer, being part of the honour guard, and being the reader for an extract from the famous poem: "For the Fallen" written by Robert Laurence Binyon before the banners were dipped and the bugle was played. Our squadron kept their upmost respect and empathy for those who had sacrificed their lives.

With the many things that 2203 has achieved over the past year, we can safely say that we are proud of our cadets and staff for serving their part in 2018. We have been constantly improving the squadron by being a part of all of the events we have attended and held. Our mission is to represent the success and skills you can gain in the RAFAC – and we are constantly thriving to push ourselves to showcase these in our town and county. Onwards to 2019!