Welcome to the Flying Tyke, 1224 (Wharfedale) Squadron's news blog. Keep checking back to keep up to date with the latest Squadron news.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Bronze DofE Report

by Cadet Callum Parker

On Friday 22nd July seven cadets from 1224 Wharfedale squadron embarked on a bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s expedition at Newton-upon-Rawcliffe.

Five of us set off on Friday night with CI Dowling and the other two were set to arrive later on with CI Watson, we arrived at the camp site in the early evening, after setting up our tent we got started on dinner which didn’t go down too well as we had the wrong gas canisters for the stoves and half the ingredients were packed in a bag which had not yet arrived! So not a great start to the weekend!

On the Saturday morning we awoke bright and early at 6am to eat breakfast, pack away our tents and get ready for the long trek ahead of us. We departed from the campsite at around 9:20am with CI Dowling, CI Watson and two other members of staff that were on the BELA course. We set off heading north on a loop that would eventually (18km later!) bring us back to the campsite. For the first half of the route it was fairly flat terrain but during the second half it was very hilly, (which is painful when you have blisters!).

After taking a few wrong turnings and being corrected we arrived back at the campsite with blisters and aching shoulders. After putting up the tents we prepared dinner which would be noodles and frankfurters, it doesn’t sound very appetising but after a day of walking it was like an oasis in the desert. We got an early night on the Saturday as most of us were too tired to do anything but sleep!

Once again we awoke on the Sunday ready to take on today’s (slightly shorter) walk. This time we would be walking all on our own without the guidance of the staff, we reached the first checkpoint earlier than the set time and carried on walking field upon field upon field until we reached a sign that read; WARNING, M.O.D. APPROVED RIFLE RANGE IN USE SUNDAYS 09:00-17:00. So they had to stop operating as we walked down the range, we had fifteen minutes before our next checkpoint so we decided to watch the shooting for a while (We still managed to arrive early at our second checkpoint). It was between our second and third checkpoint that we walked through the wrong field and almost got lost, and for that reason we arrived at our third checkpoint a little later than expected. We ploughed on though and arrived back at the campsite half an hour late but we were still the first group back.

We left the campsite at around 4:15 and journeyed home stopping off for a well-deserved McDonalds on the way. It was an interesting expedition of which lessons were learned and one that I would certainly do again. But the moral of this story is NEVER WEAR ASSAULT BOOTS FOR D of E!!!!!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Ramstein Camp 2011 Report

by FS Sam White

After attending and really enjoying a camp to RAF Akrotiri in 2010 I decided that I would try and get on another camp overseas, in the end I narrowed it down to either applying for Ramstein AB or JHQ Rheindalen, both of which were in Germany. In the end I decided that I'd apply for Ramstein since it had the appeal of being a working USAF base. The fact that nobody from 1224 had attended a camp to Ramstein (at least not in my time as a cadet) was also a deciding factor.

The camp was another joint Region camp, this time between North Region and Scotland and Northern Ireland Region and so in late July 2011 we all set off on the long coach journey to Ramstein Air Base.

Ramstein Air Base is part of the much larger Kaiserslautern Military Community which is home to over 50,000 US military personnel and civilians making it the largest US community outside of the States themselves and the base is home to a large fleet of transport aircraft including C-130's, C-5's, C-17's C-20's and C-21's.

We arrived at Ramstein on the Saturday and spent the rest of the day getting used to our surroundings before going swimming at a local pool. The accommodation we stayed in was actually inflatable tents provided by the 435th Construction Training Squadron (CTS) and was surprisingly good with each tent having its own air conditioning and climate control.

The day after featured the first inspection by the camp WO and after breakfast we were scheduled to travel to Spangdahlem AB to the Open House day (essentially a small airshow) but due to complications with the staff getting the necessary licenses to drive on the US bases we unfortunately had to miss it and instead spent the day with our flights doing various icebreakers, drill and sports instead. After the evening meal we went to the on-base shopping mall which also had its own cinema where we saw Captain America - we were all caught out when the US National Anthem came on before the film started and the whole cinema got to their feet!

Mondays activities went more to plan. We travelled to the nearby base of Panzer Kaserene to the DCCT range where we fired a number of weapons on the military training simulator including M-4's, M249's, P-228's, shotguns and even a rocket launcher! In the afternoon we went to the NATO HQ at Ramstein for a briefing on what NATO does by an RAF Wing Commander based at Ramstein before heading to the on-base bowling alley in the evening.

On Tuesday the camp split into their 2 flights, and in the morning A Flight (my flight) went to the CTS where were were showed a number of interesting toys in the US inventory including radiation detectors. During this visit we also got to drive some of the bulldozers belonging to the CTS. After lunch we swapped activitied with B flight and went to visit a C-130 unit and got to climb around inside the aircraft though we didn't do this for too long since it was very hot that day and we were almost melting inside the C-130! After dinner we played an inter-flight game of Softball, A flight unfortunately losing...

Wednesday turned out to be a very active day. In the morning we went to the 13th Field Investigation Squadron, USAF Office of Special Investigations (essentially real life CSI) where we we showed a lot of crime-fighting equipment including weapons, armour and even fingerprint detection kits before being led outside to do some combat training with batons. After lunch we travelled to the nearby US base of Vogelweh where we did some more combat training again with the batons but this time we had to spend one and a half minutes in the 'ring' with the 'red man' - a US soldier dressed in a padded suit. The evening was spent at the mall where we stocked up on US goodies to take back home with us.

We travelled to a high ropes centre at Kandel on Thursday and spent most of the morning/early afternoon there which was a lot of fun and quite challenging at times. In the evening we had the camp BBQ where a lot of the personnel we had met during the week were invited and we spent the evening chatting to them about pretty much everything. After the BBQ we headed to our temporary drill square (a car park) for the drill competition which A flight won!

Our last full day - Friday - was spent in the city of Heidelburg where we had a wander round the shops. We decided to do a 10 euro outfut night for the nights buffet and disco and so we took our 10 euros and bough our various outfits, some of which were hiarious, others just scary.

Unfortunately the day came when we all had to head back home again so on Saturday after cleaning up tent city we began the long journey back home.

Overall it was a fantastic week and probably the best camp that I've done with the ATC, partly due to the camps staff and the activities they provided but also down to the other cadets on the camp who made it genuinely enjoyable!