Stuart Strachan – International Air Cadet Exchange

IACE Team photo
IACE Team photo

Last summer, I was fortunate enough to be one of the 2 cadets from Dorset & Wilts wing chosen to take part in the International Air Cadet Exchange – where I represented the Air Training Corps in the exchange to Canada.

The two and a half week adventure saw me fly in Canadian military aircraft, explore the Canadian Rocky Mountains, and most importantly forge long lasting friendships with like minded cadets from across the globe.

After months of preparation and fundraising building up to the exchange, the journey finally Cadet March Passbegan at the end of July, where I met the 20 other UK cadets who would be joining me on the trip. The IACE programme aims to expose aviation minded youths from across the globe to new countries and new experiences. In my two and a half weeks I learned so much about Canada, its people, and particularly its cadet organisation. I was fortunate enough to meet many cadets from across the province of Alberta, often at hosted lunches and barbeques. We also got to see a Canadian cadet camp in action, gaining a first-hand look at how their basic camps operate – with many differences to the UK system!

Not only did I see the Canadian way of doing things, but I also made good friends from all over – including Belgians, Dutch and French cadets. Although they were all ‘air cadets’ their organisations ran in very different ways to ours, and it was great to see their way of doing things, and learned what’s involved in their training and activities.

The trip also provided many opportunities for personal growth and development. Meeting so many people from all regions of the world, certainly broadened my mind, and I learned so much more as a result. Leadership situations presented themselves on a daily basis, allowing all of us to take the lead, and learn from each other. There were also plenty of occasions in which I was able to experience something that I never had, and probably never again will experience in my life. A notable example is when we flew on board the Canadian Forces’ Griffon helicopter; flying low level in formation over the Canadian countryside is something I will remember for years to come!

Glider in flight
Glider in flight
Glider Landed
Glider Landed
Griffon helicopter
Griffon helicopter

We also got to experience hiking and kayaking in the Canadian Mountains, through stunning scenery unlike anything I’ve ever seen. We also took the opportunity to visit a number of national museums, sail on the lakes, and of course, shop!

I have been fortunate enough to experience a lot of great things in my time as a cadet, but this will always stand out as an absolute highlight. I would certainly encourage every single cadet who is eligible to go out and apply for IACE, as I can guarantee that you will have an awesome, and life changing experience.

kayaking in the Canadian Mountains
kayaking in the Canadian Mountains
sailing on the lakes
sailing on the lakes

AOCs commendation for two Dorset Wilts Warrant officers

Two Warrant Officers serving in Dorset Wilts Wing have been awarded a commendation from the AOC 22 Group in the New Year’s Honours list.

Tony Packwood is currently serving as the Squadron Warrant Officer at 1010 (City of Salisbury) Squadron, with prime responsibility for drill and discipline, in addition to his other duties as shooting officer and stores officer

Formerly employed as a civil servant with the Ministry of Defence, Tony has been particularly active in ensuring that the fabric of the squadron headquarters – both internally and externally – remains in good condition and that training aids are all fit for purpose

“His drive and determination for the cadets to achieve their best has never wavered. Warrant Officer Packwood’s dedication over many years to the Air Cadet Organisation goes beyond what is required and expected of the average volunteer” commented squadron commander Flight Lieutenant Jim Gillespie

Robert Swanson is Squadron Adjutant of 2182 (Dorchester) Squadron, and also takes an active role in shooting, First Aid and drill.

“He has a self-deprecating can-do attitude with a huge reserve a willingness and quiet determination to get the job done for the sole benefit of the cadets with whom he is working” said squadron commander Flying Officer Perry Everett-Donnelly.

“Tony and Rob exemplify the dedication of our adult staff, and I’m very pleased that their invaluable contribution to the Air Training Corps has been formally recognised” said Wing Commander Vanessa Toth, OC Dorset Wilts Wing.

70 Miles For 70 Years

This year marks the 70th anniversary of 622 Volunteer Gliding Squadron and to commemorate this, the squadron has embarked on numerous events and activities around the country.

To mark the end of this special year 622 VGS over the Christmas period swapped the cockpit for the saddle and undertook a freezing 70 mile bike ride using a fleet of tandems and single bikes from our base, Upavon, to Old Sarum, our previous home and then onto Christchurch where the squadron was formed in 1944. The trip turned out to be very cold and hard work but a great time was had by all those who participated.

Riding back to Christchurch to celebrate our 70th anniversary
Riding back to Christchurch to celebrate our 70th anniversary

Our chosen charities were the RAFBF and local Air Ambulance. We managed to raise £1011.02p in our four buckets along the ride, which put us out of balance a little, and online we are so close to getting to successfully reaching our goal.
Help us to reach our target and beyond. Follow the link below to find out more information on the ride itself.

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/622vgs

Any support would be gratefully received before we close the Virgin Just Giving page.