Army Cadet Force



has any of you has any interaction with the army cadet force and what is your opinion of them and of the instructors, has any of you ever been in the cadets  . im interested to hear your opinions and replies , positive and negative . discuss
A high proportion of my last unit were former cadets.  It seems to be an excellent recruiting ground.  

My instructors were all ex 22 yr regulars, so they were able to pass on a wealth of experience.  CO has to shoot russian looters on the streets of Berlin in 1945.

Unable to comment on today's AI's though.


matt -
Most of the AIs are good especially the ex regs, but a lot of them (mainly officers) mistake cdts for a youth group and treat Ncos beastings as bullying

The ACF is a youth group,  if it were part of the Army you would have joined Regs at 17 years old!!

The officers are ACF officers, they do not hold reserve rank or anything like that for the Regulars unless they hold it for civvi street in general.

Beastings for cdts is bullying, at the same time I do not disagree with beastings within reason.

As for learning, it is fine for drill, but as for fieldcraft I wouldn't hold out too much hope in some cases, as it would be like me who has not served in the Regs for 15 years trying to teach tactics to todays infantry!!


War Hero
Its a giggle - same as OTC but less experienced...


Why is everyone laughing?

Cadets tend to take themselves very seriously, but that seems to make them more keen for the tabbing/pl attack side of life.  Officer standards vary, but the ex reg instructors are great cos they're just playing around and loving it.
The officers are ACF officers, they do not hold reserve rank or anything like that for the Regulars unless they hold it for civvi street in general.

ACF/CCF Officers hold Territorial B List commissions which are non-deployable and hence they do not get paid x-factor. They do not progress beyond the substantive rank of Lt, but hold acting appointments to Capt or Maj. The only exception is the County Commandant, Col, who holds that rank substantively on transferring from the A to B List catagories. All officers under the age of 35 have to pass the Territorial Commissions Board alongside A List candidates from TA units and are eligible to transfer from the B to A list on successful comletion of the TA Commissioning Course at RMAS. Candidates over the age of 35 can be appointed to a commission on the recommendation of the Commandant, and have no option to transfer from the B to A List.

My (limited) experience of ACF officers is that a majority of them are ex-squaddies (Pte or L/Cpl) from 30 years ago who used to have to salute everything that moved and call it "sir" and expect the same in return from regular and TA counterparts. They are usually sadly mistaken if they think that SNCOs and Officers in the regulars or TA will pay them any dues whatsoever. Some (but by no means all) have a propensity to be seen everywhere in uniform and to be grandiose, and posturing, and the ex-squaddies are the worst for this. Some (like our local Det, who gets a lot of support from both the regs and TA) have a fantastic OC who puts in a lot of effort and energy and who doesn't stand on ceremony or throw rank around. These tend to be few and far between sadly.

I have seen a number of Adult Sgts wearing para and commando berets and who provide some challenging training to the cdts. As an ex-cdt myself, I always wanted to get stuck in and do the stuff that the army did, and a lot of my instructors who were ex-regs (I was in the CCF) used to provide good quality instruction in a viriety of field skills.    
I was a CCF cadet for five years and and loved it. I spent lots of time running up and down hills in wales dragging around .303 rifles and Larkspur radios (this was in the 80's). We had a lot of good instructors three of whom had been TA SAS and another who was a regular officer.

The unit was run by a full time retired WO2 who acted as PSI.

I went to Gibralter and Germany, flew in lots of helicopters and actually had more fun and responsibility  than I did in TA. Many of my friends went on into the Regular services or reseves and are now somewhere in Iraq.

I got involved in the ACF a few years ago. I found that a risk assessment culture imposed from outside precluded more ambitious training. Adult Leadership ranged from the inspired to the aweful and a nasty tendency towards infighting and secrecy charactierised relationships between and within the dets at all levels.  This was bad for morale and eventually caused me to loose interest. After all I get enough grief in my day job.



it seems to be working as many of you have said you were ex-cadets , i wonder how many regts involve cadets in what they are doing ?


In my experience very few, my unit does not really support our local detachment at all.  ( I have suggested rectifying this situation, but my ideas have fallen on deaf ears)

As an ex Air Cadet we had support from several TA units, and i found this to be very handy, they helped us out with vehicles for camps (though Air Cadets are not allowed to travel in soft top vehicles), and occasionally with the unit weekends with small arms e.t.c.

I went back to my old sqn a few weeks ago and was greatly dissapointed, the petticoat fascists have had their way with all the cadet forces, once upon a time we would run around our local woods pretending to be tactical and beating each other up coming home covered in mud and bruises  ;D.  Now all they are allowed to do is run around and shout bang at each other, and even then only in good weather.  

It makes me sick.   :mad:



The Commandants actually have to revert to the rank of Lieutenant in the ACF "at their own request", although they hold the appointment of Commandant and wear full colonel insignia.

One ACF Commandant I know is a TA half colonel on RARO as well as an ACF substantive lieutenant wearing full colonel pips/crowns.  Unsurprisingly, if called up for Iraq, he would revert to being a TA half colonel.

Bizarre system.


pile , i think you find its down to the "childrens act" and also down the "sue you , sue me , sue everybody" culture, so unfortunatly most instructor wil have to bear that in mind and follow procedures otherwise they will be personally liable ending up out of pocket . shame really as many of the activities would have been fun .

i would have thought paintballing would be a useful way of learning combat techniques and whats it really like to operate under fire while having fun at the same time , but it would have to be an activity outside of the Army Cadet Force ( private arrangment) ,incidently how many of you do paintballing, i enjoyed it myself ( it hurts sometimes tho , lol )


Vespa, I do understand the reasons why, but i had a great time beating my mates up.  It is now just one more 'in my day...' line to bore children with.  

Paintballing is seen as 'too risky' because of the above reasons.  However it is great fun, the paint doesn't taste too good though, last time i went i copped one in the mask during a full frontal assault (not the type favoured by MDN in front of pensioners).  We did it a couple of years ago at the TA day, we hired the kit from a mate, dressed civvies up in bucksee NBC suits, and let them shoot each other for a few minutes, then told them we did this sort of thing all the time.   ::)


I, like many of you, am ex cdt.

It varieys all over the UK. When I was in the ACF I visted a lot of units.
There are two kinds Old school and New school.

Old school tends to be a large group of lads, usually run by a battle hardened ex reg of xx years. All the lads want to be in the army, all of them know why they are there. To pick up some experience of how the army works and what ever skills they can. Often they are more professional (keeping fit, knowledge of subject, etc) than a lot of TA units out there and most OTC (Drinking club) units.
As far as whether the skills learn't in cadets are relevent, most say no. I say diffinatly yes if your from an old school unit. They must be as if you get to a certain level I belive in the TA you bypass the recruit course.

Trouble is the new school units, with substandards the same 'certificate' levels of ability vary considerably within the ACF.
We all no what I mean by new school so I won't press that any further. I will say that they are in the wrong 'youth movement' if thats what you want to call it.

Note: I thort trotsky in particular had it spot on concerning SOME AI's


As far as I'm aware if you did SCIC you skip the first couple of weekends before BTC as its just drill/pt and admin type stuff.
However, not  sure how it works with the intro of TAFS.

Must say I do find it rather depressing to hear about the spread of Health and Safety culture into Cadet Forces. Sounds like its sucked the fun out of it.  :(


I went straight into the unit.   ;D  

I was told it's at the RSM's discretion  ???

Although things may have changed as this was a few years ago.  


with the serious shortage of recruits to the regular army and TA , Army Cadet Force is another important tool to encourage recruitment , which is what the army cadet is for  "to stimulate interest in joining the army and its values " having said that i wouldn't want to see the fun factor taken out of the ACF so instructors will need to be inspired


All i had to do was the first weekend then the 2 weeks. Only because the sqms was in the cadets aswell and knew me.
As for recruiting I have six 16 year olds who are in the process of joining. Some Det Commanders try to put them off because they dont want to lose senior cadets. :mad: