It’s been a huge year as No 6 Wing marked the 75th Anniversary of the Australian Air Force Cadets – and previously No 4 Wing, Air Training Corps (RAAF Reserve) and the South Australian Squadron of the Air Training Corps (AirTC).
The entry of the new year was marked on social media by one staff member on duty for promotion courses: “It was great to start the New Year which heralds the beginning of the 75th Anniversary year of the Australian Air Force Cadets on duty at RAAF Edinburgh. Somewhere nearby off-base fireworks were set off at the stroke of midnight, and every one of the ten million galahs, corellas and cockatoos sleeping in the trees were woken up and took to the skies screeching!”.
Early in the year, 21 current and former members of No 6 Wing were presented with their Gold badge and certificate for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. This was the AAFC’s first Gold presentation to be conducted since the Australian Air Force Cadets was granted a provisional licence to operate as an award unit in January 2016.
6 Wing Cadets went overseas with the International Air Cadet Exchange program, and interstate on various activities. One Cadet from No 619 Squadron said that among his many memorable moments from this year, “my favourite would have to be representing the wing at the NFCC” – the AAFC National Field Craft Competition, Exercise Green Eagle 2016. And why wouldn’t it have been enjoyable – with 6 Wing bringing home the trophy as the best Wing overall!
No 600 Squadron marked its first year of operation as an aviation training squadron, having conducted 31 Link Trainer activities and 74 flying activities ranging from Pilot Experience flights to gliding camps.
Cadets from throughout 6 Wing honoured the fallen by participating in a variety of commemorative ceremonies. Some had the privilege of mounting a catafalque party in Kuching, Malaysia in support of the National Malaya-Borneo Veterans Association of Australia (SA/NT Branch). This ceremony marked the 50th anniversary of the Cease Fire and Declaration of the End of the Indonesian Confrontation with Malaysia (1962-1966). The Activity OIC Flight Lieutenant (AAFC) Lawrence Ng said of the cadets’ participation in the Sarawak ceremony: “An historical event for the AAFC, our Cadets mounting a Commemoration Catafalque Party overseas – a proud moment for AAFC 6 Wing”.
It was also a year of receiving and exercising freedoms of entry. Firstly, No 6 Wing exercised its Freedom of Entry to the City of Adelaide on Saturday 11 June, and on Sunday 4 December, No 608 (Town of Gawler) Squadron exercised its Right of Entry to the Town of Gawler. Meanwhile on Sunday 31 July, the City of Onkaparinga granted the Freedom of Entry to No 619 Squadron AAFC, and at the same time No 605 (City of Onkaparinga) Squadron exercised its Right of Entry in a tri-Service Cadet parade.
Warrant Officer (AAFC) Henry Bell said, “Using this AAFC anniversary year as a starting point, one of my projects as Wing Warrant Officer is to encourage Cadets and staff into researching and taking pride in their unit histories”.
The Australian Air Force Cadets is one of the most dynamic, effective and satisfying youth programs available because it gives young people focus and helps set them up for life – through activities ranging from firearms safety training, fieldcraft and survival training, radio communications and flying gliders and powered aircraft, as well as travel opportunities.
The Reviewing Officer for the No 609 Squadron end of year parade perhaps summed it up the best: “I urge you to take this opportunity and to add to your life experience by utilising the opportunities the AAFC provides. I do not know what challenges await you, but I know the AAFC and your Squadron will support you as far and in whatever way we can”.