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Changes in ACF policy over the years....

#1
I left the ACF as a 2nd Lt in 2006. I joined as a cadet in 1990. Back then it was common policy to travel to and from training areas in 4 tonners with a "CADET" board front and back (possibly swinging out the back on the rope as well). It always sticks in my mind the fun we had back then and the songs and such.
Even on Annual Camp we used to be fed by proper army cooks. Then it all went terribly wrong. We had to go everywhere by coaches and had catering staff brought in instead.
Seems like a bit of a moan I know but I really want to know what else other people have missed or that they wish hadn't changed.
 
#2
mate the whole army goes everywhere on coaches and eats from civvy contract caterers, it's nothing ACF-specific.

I think what some do underestimate is how much more cadets enjoy green things. Take an adult soldier and say "we're driving to the training area, coach or 4-ton?" it's coach every time, sod sitting in a suspension-less box with exhaust fumes creeping in and hard seats. But cadets? The coach isn't green and armyish. They travel on those things at school. Cadets is all about not being at school. So they'll take the 4-tonner, because it's green and armyish and all that is good fun. It's the same with radios - take a Motorola walkie-talkie and a 349. The Motorola is longer range, smaller, lighter, better audio quality... all round better. Will they take it? God no. The 349 is green and an army radio. I even had cadets on camp queueing up to do overnight stags in the sangars. You'd never see the army doing that, it's a chore. But to the cadets, sitting up in the sangar overlooking the baron lands of Salisbury Plain, give them an LSW and a CWS and they're perfectly content with keeping watch... it's all part of the fun and far better than being asleep.

Obviously things like H&S have taken away some of the delights of days gone by, as has the bullshit and paper trails. But I think the subject serves to remind people that the ACF is about having fun ultimately, and that what makes it fun for the kids isn't necessarily a huge company attack with enough pyro to occupy Paris, but actually just chucking a load of cadets in the back of a tonner and driving it down a bumpy track can be just as good.
 
Z

Zarathustra

Guest
#3
mate the whole army goes everywhere on coaches and eats from civvy contract caterers, it's nothing ACF-specific.
No, we still have military chefs. It's only PAYD facilities that are run by contractors, normally with a mix of civvy and military chefs depending on the location, we still also have Master Chefs etc.

Training camps are normally totally contractors however, though we normally take a chef or two to help out in the kitchen.
 
#4
No, we still have military chefs. It's only PAYD facilities that are run by contractors, normally with a mix of civvy and military chefs depending on the location, we still also have Master Chefs etc.

Training camps are normally totally contractors however, though we normally take a chef or two to help out in the kitchen.
Thanks for the heads up. Am I right on the coaches though?

I knew military chefs were still in fashion but was under the impression that most if not all kitchens were now at least operated by civvy contractors, even if the chefs therein are military employed.
 
Z

Zarathustra

Guest
#5
Thanks for the heads up. Am I right on the coaches though?

I knew military chefs were still in fashion but was under the impression that most if not all kitchens were now at least operated by civvy contractors, even if the chefs therein are military employed.
Yeah it's pretty much coaches for everything, I believe there is a limit on the distance troops can be carried in TCVs, but someone more up to date on the transport side of things would be able to give more information on this.

As for the chefs it depends, my current cook house is entirely military (except for the pot washers) as it's not PAYD. My last place had military and civilian chefs with a SSGT who ran the kitchen but all rations are ordered through ESS and ESS were responsible for running the cook house (the cook house shared the kitchen with the NAAFI), manning the tills, kitchen porters and that sort of stuff. But this will vary from facility to facility.
 
#6
I recall being on an ACF summer camp at Jurby IOM in the late 70's. We had civvy cooks then and it caused a riot as they were skimming the rations and taking home half the joints that should have been roasted and gave us slop stew instead. Cue one mouthy git from Huyton teling the cookies where they can stuff the food. The whole place kicked off.

Later that evening, the cooks are bumbling they're merry way across the parade ground to their accomodation, when to the sound of 4 tonner's tailgates dropping, 20 scouse thugs entertain themselves with pick helves and start laying into the cooks.

Next day we had a team of ACC show up and the food from that point was fine.

Jurby was still a shithole though.
 
#7
As for the chefs it depends, my current cook house is entirely military (except for the pot washers) as it's not PAYD. My last place had military and civilian chefs with a SSGT who ran the kitchen but all rations are ordered through ESS and ESS were responsible for running the cook house (the cook house shared the kitchen with the NAAFI), manning the tills, kitchen porters and that sort of stuff. But this will vary from facility to facility.
Fair dos, in recent times I have only dined in either PAYD messing or transit camps. Both seem to be run by civvies, which is generally an inconvenience since they a) do not give one microfuck about making things good, they're just working hour-for-hour for their pay, and b) have no understanding of how the army works whatsoever, have no desire to learn whatsoever, and are generally complete fuckholes who couldn't even get a job in McDonalds.

On the up shot they don't seem to take such offence to you taking 3 sausages (this is, transit camp; obviously PAYD it doesn't matter anyway), and aren't very good detectives so unless you make yourself remembered, doing 2 passes of the counter is more of an option than with the more switched on army chefs.

I recall being on an ACF summer camp at Jurby IOM in the late 70's. We had civvy cooks then and it caused a riot as they were skimming the rations and taking home half the joints that should have been roasted and gave us slop stew instead. Cue one mouthy git from Huyton teling the cookies where they can stuff the food. The whole place kicked off.

Later that evening, the cooks are bumbling they're merry way across the parade ground to their accomodation, when to the sound of 4 tonner's tailgates dropping, 20 scouse thugs entertain themselves with pick helves and start laying into the cooks.
We did a camp on SPTA where a load of the cadets were quite ill from the food they were serving. It was some sort of creamy chicken pasta thing so the chunder was all horrible stinking white fluid. First few cadets to fall foul used the ablutions then realised it was a false economy as they were cleaning them in the morning, not us. Once the others realised they all had the voms, they proceeded to go around to the staff entrance of the cookhouse and chuck all over the steps and the door.

First we knew about it was the 'Kitchen Manager' (sodexho or whoever) coming to see us for breakfast to ask us why his kitchen doorsteps stunk to high heaven and were covered in chunder. Early morning CFAV response "probably because you fed them shit food" didn't go down well when really the guy was just looking for an apology and a cleaning party.
 
#8
70's to 80's at least, possibly longer, my County had a team of volunteer adults solely for cookhouse duties- It did seem to work pretty well, especially in flexibility following a weather disaster or similar.

I think this may well persist elsewhere to this day; there is one County with adults wearing AJC Badges who don't, as I understand it, have any cadet training functions.

We were on contract coaches for annuals, but for a detachment weekend, I will certainly agree dp's comments on the totally enthusiastic reaction you got when a couple of four tonners rocked up!


And the Commer minibus must have been the most unexciting vehicle on the road even when they were brand new!

Something which was very rare in the 70's, but occurred, I suspect is now a thing of the past - the cadet the height of his rifle!
 
#9
And the Commer minibus must have been the most unexciting vehicle on the road even when they were brand new!
That's where you're showing your age Tom, this was the heli-bus workhorse of my generation:



LDV Pilot. A true classic in unreliable modes of transport. Just the thought of the cheap seats with grey, blue and maroon fabric, padding so thin the metal frame stuck in your back, and the pathetic tinny stereo which did not make good reproduction of Limp Bizkit... makes me drift off into a stream of fond memories.

In fact, my first detachment minibus didn't even have windows. They just bought a Pilot van and bolted a load of coach seats in the back. We used the profits from the naafi breaks to buy a sizeable stereo, the speakers had to go in little wooden boxes as there was no interior to mount to. The boxes then got bolted to the walls, and the bolt holes leaked when it rained. That thing was a true classic until some H&S bloke joined the unit and condemned it, laying it to rust in peace in the detachment car park, getting used solely as a shed. Cucking funt, I hope he's dead by now, he ruined a good fun road trip and the brand spanking citroen van that replaced it was utter shite.
 
#10
To have troops in 4 toners, they need to have the seats fitted in the back. They look like rows of 'racing' seats with seat belts.

PAYD, it should be mandatory in big letters what the 'meal deals' are, what is included for the basic price, they then might be not bad.
 

jarrod248

LE
Gallery Guru
#11
That's where you're showing your age Tom, this was the heli-bus workhorse of my generation:



LDV Pilot. A true classic in unreliable modes of transport. Just the thought of the cheap seats with grey, blue and maroon fabric, padding so thin the metal frame stuck in your back, and the pathetic tinny stereo which did not make good reproduction of Limp Bizkit... makes me drift off into a stream of fond memories.

In fact, my first detachment minibus didn't even have windows. They just bought a Pilot van and bolted a load of coach seats in the back. We used the profits from the naafi breaks to buy a sizeable stereo, the speakers had to go in little wooden boxes as there was no interior to mount to. The boxes then got bolted to the walls, and the bolt holes leaked when it rained. That thing was a true classic until some H&S bloke joined the unit and condemned it, laying it to rust in peace in the detachment car park, getting used solely as a shed. Cucking funt, I hope he's dead by now, he ruined a good fun road trip and the brand spanking citroen van that replaced it was utter shite.
Of your generation? How old are you now 20?
The Sherpa minibus was an excellent piece of kit, you could work it hard, it was fast enough and more economical than a transit. They were easy to work on and required little attention.
 
#14
or

'On the course at Frimley they said... was coming in'
Then again, the SASC chap there has always said "if you want clarification on any cadet training issue then give him and call". I have done this a couple of times and he has been great. If only other counties would do the same rather than making their own rules up.
 
#15
What I meant and I don't think it came across very well was that in the dark and distant past it seemed to be more fun! Travelling in 4 tonners (the use of green machines in general!), bivvying out in the snow etc. My first ever weekend as a 13 year old sprog I was given a chance to fire a GPMG. It scared the hell out of me but kept me coming back for more! Four months later at Anny Camp and I was given a .303 for excecise and the bloody thing was bigger than I was.
So to make it a touch clearer: what has changed that you would change back since H&S reared its head?
 
#16
So to make it a touch clearer: what has changed that you would change back since H&S reared its head?
Nothing, I spent over 2 years trying to rein cnuts in who wanted to do 'play time' with the Cadets.

Why is travelling to the exercise area in a 4tonner preferable to a bus? On area, maybe different.
 
#17
I always found travelling in a 4 tonner (rightly or wrongly) more fun. The camaraderie was different. You had more of a laugh and even the AI's joined in.
When it changed to coaches it became more "cliquey". You split off into groups of mates and didn't interact as much and the AI's spent more time keeping the noise down than joining in.
As an AI myself (both when using 4 tonners and coaches) I encouraged the singalongs within reason as it seemed to bring the different units together, however quite a few of the drivers didn't like it.
I may be viewing things through rose tinted glasses but I personally preferred it that way. I certainly didn't do "play time" but it did seem to gel the cadets together and reduce friction a bit. As soon as we debussed it was work as usual.
I also remember doing the full assault course as a cadet with the exception of one obstacle as I recall (and the option to miss the parallel bars if you wanted). This was from the age of 13 or so. At 16 and a P4* I was on a weekend where we went to use the assault course and when we got there there was a bloke with a folder and pen making notes.
He told us he was from H&S doing a survey and to come back in half an hour, which we duly did. Some of the obstacles had red and white tape on them and others yellow and black. The SSI with us asked what it all meant and was told that for cadets under 16 the red and white marked obstacles were out of bounds and the yellow and black ones were optional. It left about 5 obstacles for the under 16's to use, when a month earlier they had been using them all.
After a bit of discussion I think under 16's were banned from 2 or 3 of the obstacles. Jumping back to earlier in the thread I completely agree that anything green made it more fun. I know of one unit who used to use sawn down broom handles to simulate weapons and those particular parade nights almost every cadet turned up.
Sleeping in a sleeping bag on a training area in the rain, sleet and snow was far better than kipping in a bunk bed. Cooking a rat pack meal on a hexy stove that ended up being luke warm and tateless at best was somehow better than in the cookhouse.
I never did the army or the TA (with the exception of a few unit weekends with them) so I don't have a reference there.
 
#18
Nothing, I spent over 2 years trying to rein cnuts in who wanted to do 'play time' with the Cadets.
Agree with you there. H&S is often perceived to have moved us backwards not forwards, but it hasn't. By and large, the cadets are still able to carry out activities to the same standards of fun, enjoyment and challenge as before, but are not subject to the inherent dangers that came with some bad practices which were carried out. I think those who consider the H&S legislation to be 'fun police' are rather naive of the dangers that come with irresponsibility in our work.

Why is travelling to the exercise area in a 4tonner preferable to a bus? On area, maybe different.
2 hour drive from County HQ to SPTA? A coach is going to be preferable, of course.

20 minute drive from transit camp on Annual to exercise area, is 4-tonner territory.

I think the cadets just like anything which makes it seem like one great big army exercise, anything that makes it seem real. They're not bothered by comfort really - if they were, they wouldn't be spending 2 weeks of their summer holiday on camp, with one half spent sleeping on a green rubber bag filled with foam, and the other spent sleeping on simply a piece of rolled up foam; getting up at 6am in either case and having to do things like ironing and making the bed. All the inconveniences are offset by the fact that it's 'like the army'.

It's not so much the 4-tonner being anything special, they just like everything that makes it 'like the army'. So if it were a Mastiff, that would be fine too. Or a 432. Or just a GS Land Rover. They're all inferior by comfort level, but they're part of the army thing that they've come along for. If you give them a coach, yes it's got nice comfy seats, air conditioning, a radio, windows, etc... but they can go on one of them on a school trip. We're about giving them opportunities they don't get elsewhere, and if to get that they have to get a sore ass for 20 minutes (yep, flack incoming!!!) by sitting on a plastic seat in a 4-tonner, then so be it.
 
#19
Ultimately though... what do they get from driving around in a 4 tonner? Is it just a feeling of being 'in the mob'?

In which case is it worth the agro of getting one, remember that it will be supplied and driven by a Reg or TA unit.

My number one go to guy on the CTT was the TSA. And I provided a lot of fun and adventurous training for the Cadets that didn't include the risk of injury (severe or minor, temp or otherwise).

Re the assault course if so many obs were put out of bounds either the H&S guy was a knob, or it was a pretty shaky assault course. As an OCS I haven't had to put more than a handful of obs 'off limits', that includes sending a load of 5th years over a 12 ft wall.
 
#20
Ultimately though... what do they get from driving around in a 4 tonner? Is it just a feeling of being 'in the mob'?
It's the fun of it. It's something a bit different, and yeah - 'in the mob'. Just like ration packs instead of kitchens. It's all things they don't get to do at home/school. Yes there's no training value whatsoever, and yes there is the little bit of extra risk (tailgates seem to be a good way to injure cadets), but to them, a coach is a means to an end (getting there and back), a 4 tonner is all part of the fun of the exercise.

In which case is it worth the agro of getting one, remember that it will be supplied and driven by a Reg or TA unit.
Will it? Why can't a CFAV with the relevant HGV and PCV cats on their license, plus the relevant vehicles on their FMT600, drive one? I'm not saying they can or can't - you know better than I do I'm sure - but I've seen them on all occasions being driven by CFAVs both officers and SNCOs, either borrowed from cohabiting army/TA units, or supplied from vehicle pools.

My number one go to guy on the CTT was the TSA. And I provided a lot of fun and adventurous training for the Cadets that didn't include the risk of injury (severe or minor, temp or otherwise).
Like I said, I agree with you there. H&S hasn't reduced how the cadet forces are able to make activities fun, it's simply made them safer by providing clear guidelines to those running the exercise, and removing stupid practices and dangerous games.

Re the assault course if so many obs were put out of bounds either the H&S guy was a knob, or it was a pretty shaky assault course. As an OCS I haven't had to put more than a handful of obs 'off limits', that includes sending a load of 5th years over a 12 ft wall.
I think we all know that H&S types often are knobs. Their biggest fault is not knowing the difference between things which COULD be dangerous, and things that ARE dangerous. They often believe that signing something off as safe to use means that if an accident occurs, they absolutely definitely will end up inside a prison being bummed by big black men in tight shorts; and so declare anything which could so much as graze your knee as being a complete death trap and wrapping 600 miles of hazard tape around it.
 

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