The Australian Air Force Cadets has just called for nominations for the 2019 International Air Cadet Exchange (IACE) Outbound Program, for those wishing to travel overseas in July-August 2019.
CAPTION: SQNLDR (AAFC) Robert Boyd with members of the 2018 IACE Belgium detachment with an F-16 gate guard at Kleine Brogel Air Base, municipality of Peer, Belgium.
The IACE outbound component is an opportunity for selected cadets to visit designated countries – in 2019 there are expected to be 34 exchange opportunities between nine participating countries. All cadets who travel overseas are accompanied by staff supervisors.
In the 2018 program, in late July and early August three Cadets from No 6 Wing visited China, the UK and Canada. Meanwhile, Squadron Leader (AAFC) Robert Boyd from the Riverland accompanied the two Cadets from Melbourne and Brisbane who had been selected to visit Belgium.
SQNLDR (AAFC) Boyd said, “The program was robust, with a balance in the range of activities – ranging from the historical focus on World War One in Flanders to the military visits to operational and training units of the police and the Belgian Army Air Component”.
There were cultural visits to towns and sites of interest, and home-stays which allowed the party to better appreciate every-day life. And of course, flying both in gliders and helicopters.
Accommodation was provided in the military facilities at Beauvechain Air Base in Wallonia Province, but each weekend was spent with host families in the local area.
The party had a tour of the military side of Brussels Airport, viewing the military aircraft bringing in participating cadets from the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Germany.
They were all welcomed at a formal reception at the West Flanders Provincial Military Command in the capital Bruges, and again later with a formal reception in Antwerp.
During the tour, the party visited local sites of historical and cultural interest, including the Euro Space Centre in the Ardennes, the Royal Palace in Brussels, and the First Wing Historical Centre Museum in Beauvechain.
They had a boat tour on the canals of Bruges, visited the seaside at Oostende, and kayaked on the river Leese, a distance of 12 km from Gendron to Anseremme.
They also visited the Directorate of Air Support (Police Air Support Wing) at Melsbroek Air Base, and the 15th Air Transport Wing of the Belgian Air Component (including a tour of the C-130 Hercules facility).
A ten-pin bowling activity for the cadets, coincided with a reception with the President of the Belgian Air Cadets Association and staff of Aviabel for the adult escorts.
Later the party visited the 10th Tactical Air Wing at Kleine Brogel Air Base, with a tour of the F-16 Fighting Falcon facility.
Significantly in this anniversary year, on 19 July the party toured World War One sites in Flanders.
They visited the Memorial Museum Passchendaele, Tyne Cot War Cemetery and Memorial near Ieper (‘Ypres’), the St Julien Canadian Memorial and the ‘Brooding Soldier’ memorial, the Langemark German Military Cemetery, the Essex Farm Cemetery and a French cemetery.
They finished the day in Ypres for dinner, afterwards joining the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing. Three Cadets, one each from Australia, France and the United Kingdom, had the privilege of placing a wreath.
On a later day they reviewed World War Two history with a tour of Fort Breendonk, which had become the prison ‘SS-Auffanglager Breendonk’ during the German occupation of Belgium.
The team spent time with the second-year Royal Belgian Air Cadets at the airfield at Bertrix near Saint Hubert in the Belgian Ardennes, and had an aero-tow glider flight. Later they visited a gliding camp for first year cadets at the aerodrome at Weelde, and had a winch-launched glider flight.
One of the many highlights was later in the trip when the cadets and staff each had a 20 minute flight in an Agusta 109 helicopter operated by the 1st Wing at Beauvechain Air Base.
Flying Officer (AAFC) Paul Rosenzweig, 6 Wing Public Affairs & Communication Officer, said “While the AAFC is a youth development program, with opportunities for cadets to take part in international exchanges, there are also great opportunities for AAFC staff to travel and see the world”.