From the 3rd July – 10th July, five Cadets from 2195 (Long Eaton) Squadron, RAF Air Cadets, embark a tough week of training on the L81 A2 at the National rifle association, Bisley for the first time.
Cadet Flight Sergeant Nicole Walker, Cadet Sergeants Lewis Reid, Craig Harrision and Cadet Bradley Scriven as well as Cadet Aidan Poole, who was the Butt Marker, traveled to the Pirbright Army Training Centre on the afternoon of the South and East Midlands Wing field day. This is where they would be staying for first five nights of their visit, before camping on the Bisley Rifle Centre, where they will put all their hard work training from the past 5 months into the annual competition during the weekend.
The beginning of the day started with breakfast at the mess along with other cadet units such the Army Cadet Force, Sea Cadets, and Combined Cadet Force. After the cadets would collect their individual rifles and head down to the range for the day. There were three ranges the cadets shot at, during the course of the week. These were 300, 500 and 600 yards. Each practising on different ranges each day.
The practise shoots enabled the cadets to ‘zero’ their own rifles. This meant adjusting the rifle to their preference and needs, allowing them to shoot more comfortably and effectively, it also taught them how to position themselves correctly and adjust the equipment required to assist with holding the rifle for a long period of time.
Progression was coming along nicely, as all cadets scores were increasing and groupings were becoming much closer. Along with advice from the cadet shooting development team and other members of staff, the team looked strong for the upcoming competition and had a good chance of doing really well. Furthermore, the cadets did that well during the training shoots, all cadets achieved a marksmanship award, with Flight Sergeant Walker and Cadet Scriven achieving Regional Marksman and Sergeant Harrison achieving Wing Marksman. All cadets and Flight Sergeant Brown were proud of our achievements and our huge leap forward in progression from the previous training sessions earlier in the year.
It was a real boost for morale throughout the week, seeing how far the cadets had come and their results from the coaches. And now achieving really high scores, with the highest score of the week from Cadet Bradley Scriven achieving a score of 32.2 out of a possible 35.7 at 300 yards.
The training week had drawn to an end with all participants putting in all their effort, it was now the start of the Inter-Services Cadet rifle competition and the chance to earn themselves a Cadet 100 badge. In order for the cadets to achieve a cadet 100, they must come within the top 100 in the core. The cadets set up camp alongside number 3 Welsh wing and prepare for the competition.
During the morning of the 8th July, the cadets made their way for their first competition shoot. This is a huge accomplishment for the squadron, with this year being the first time for 2195 to be represented at core level for shooting. The shooting went very well, with everyone picking off the high scores that was needed to come top of the leader-board. It was stressful, frustrating at times, but the cadets kept positive with the willingness to do well and take back home an award they were proud of.
The competition was drawn to an end and the cadets reflect on their performance, with a trip to the derby centre were all leader-boards and updates were posted, smiles all round and a big sense of achievement from the cadets. With Cadet Bradley Scriven coming 156th, Cadet Fight Sergeant Walker coming 185th and Cadet Sergeant Harrison coming 236th, these were fantastic placements at Corps level out of a total of over 400 cadets!
Come Sunday it was time to pack up all the kit and head home after a long and tiring week. Cadet Sergeant Harrison said “The atmosphere during the week was incredible. I really enjoyed shooting the L81 A2 rifle and look forward to next year.”
Written by Cadet Bradley Scriven
2195 (Long Eaton) Squadron