This year, five cadets from 966 (Wallingford) Sqn attended the two week Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) camp. We arrived at 10am on Saturday 11 July and the day began with a welcome from the Officer Commanding Engineering, shortly after which we began our primary task, erecting the campsite in time for the rest of the cadets who were attending the one week camp. The main benefit of attending the two week camp is that we had less exhausting tasks during the airshow. My flight (Buccaneer) was fortunate enough to have the entire Saturday show day off because we had been on breakfast duty that morning.
The day began between 5 and 7 am (dependant on the flight and their allotted breakfast time). Breakfast consisted of a full English breakfast and/or a bowl of cereals and a hot or cold drink. The flight would then proceed to their morning task, which during the show days was most commonly crowd control (also a front row seat for the airshow!). Each flight then had lunch which was a hot meal, except for the show days when we had packed lunches. We would then carry out afternoon tasking before having dinner after which most flights had the evening off which often consisted of socialising, card playing and sports before going to sleep at 10:30pm.
Cadets attending were from all over the UK and during the time RIAT was on cadets on the annual International Air Cadet Exchange (IACE) were visiting and they attended the camp for one week. This meant that there were also cadets from America, Australia and Hong Kong at the camp. To mark the end of the camp for the IACE cadets and the one week cadets a disco was held. This was a very enjoyable evening and a very good way to mark the end of the airshow, we even had our very own ‘mosh pit’. It was a very memorable evening. After the one week cadets had left the campsite was much quieter with only 100 left. We now had the formidable task of taking down the campsite.
On the first day we had a competition as to who could take down and pack away a tent the fastest. Our build team set the record for the fastest time at 26 minutes. It took the build teams just a few days to take down the whole of the campsite and as a result, we had the last afternoon off. On the 24th June all that was left were our tents and despite being a wet and miserable morning we got them all down in a few hours and were able to leave slightly early. This was my first RIAT and is definitely one of my best memories from my cadet career so far and was also a great chance to make many new friends.
Finally, we must not forget the hard work put in by the staff so that this camp could go ahead. They were key in both the running of the camp and keeping the cadets motivated.
Cdt Ewan Pugh