Joining the RAF Reserve

With the state of the TA so bad now, is joining the RAF reserve a viable alternative. Rumour is that they know how to look after their personnel, train them properly etc. Any honest advice
The RAF Reserves train their people in a different way. In the TA, the recruit does X-amount of weekends, then a two week camp. The RAFR does it the other way around. The recruit does the two week camp first.
During GWII, BBC News 24 reported from an RAF base which was being guarded by reservists with only a couple of weeks training. Granted, it was not on the front line, but it must have been a Hell of a learning curve; from civvie to Active Service in less than a month!
Most RAF Reserves are employed in the Force Protection/Survive to Operate role. In other words, as part-time Rockapes.
I looked at joing the RAuxAF many years ago, so I may be out of date. The big difference then was that the trade standards were identical and rigidly enforced, so that regulars and part-timers were interchangeable without further training - so there was a lot of wastage. This was at the time when the RAuxAF were operating the Falklands capture L40/70s in the LLAD role, so perhaps it wasn't a bad idea.


How about the RN reserve (or RM reserve)? Considered them?

And what do you mean the state of the TA so bad? If you mean the media harping on about numbers, then theres one way to improve that and thats going down your local drill hall on a Tuesday night... I'm in a TA unit and don't have an idea what you are on about with bad states! You join a force for the job you'll be doing and who you'll do it with. So can you elaborate?
Gook said:
If you mean the media harping on about numbers, then theres one way to improve that and thats going down your local drill hall on a Tuesday night...
With a mate!

mmmmm the TA in a bad state??? numbers wise well yes its under recruited, however since the compulsory call ups (telic fingal et al) most of the bounty hunting pie eaters have left. This equates to a more professional organisation who have a real role, and also opportunities galore for motivated individuals.

A rather rushed and simplified view but thats my take on it anyway, your thoughts please.........


Yeh if there IS underrecruitment (is that even a word?) then it just gives you more of a chance to get in to do what you want, and make your mark... It means as a junior you will probably get more opportunity to take appointments as well and show you can advance through the ranks (i.e. Ptes as sect comd/2ics, if you don't bodge it too badly you may find yourself on a PJ NCOs course in a bit....)
Gook said:
It means as a junior you will probably get more opportunity to take appointments as well and show you can advance through the ranks
Really? I've spent the last year dropping down (ranks) to do Cpls work, Cpls doing LCpls/Siggies work etc .... SSgts hate it, Sgt and Cpls hate it.......... so even more leave........
If anything, Gook, you end up with Sgts & Staffies doing section commander stuff.
I presume you are hacked off with poor management, training, morale etc and can understand your reasons for looking elsewhere. Our local crab-air offer re-enlistment up to the age of 55, with service up to 65. They offer a lot more than guarding camps, and from experience, do short mobilisation tours (4 months and 1 day - the day means lots more leave apparently). Dunno if blue would suit you, but at least you get 2's, C95 and casual dress.

IMHO the RAF Reserve is definitely worth a visit.

I went to visit my local TA unit, the PSAO was not interested in me or my relevant experience. He turned me away and told me come back in a month, as he was far to busy. He did nt even ask me my name. I turned up one month later to an ill prepared half hour presentation from a 2Lt. There was no programme, no literature, no tour of the unit, no photos/slides of the unit doing the job. All I got was a invitation to turn up the following Tuesday......for what I am not quite sure.

My general impression was very poor indeed:

The CSM was not interested at all when I asked him a question, preferring to sit behind his desk, looking at me as if I was something he had just wiped of his boot.

The members of the unit I did see in uniform looked like Gareth from the office.

On the other hand the RAF Reserve have sent me various letters and information leaflets, I have been invited to an information day (they included a itinerary) and they included details for my travel warrant.

The decision for me has been pretty easy really......the TA made it for me.
I know all TA units are not the same, and I am sure there are good TA recruitment teams out there but I definitely did nt meet them. The TA unit I visited was everything I hoped it would nt be.

My advice, go and visit all three services, and then make up your mind.

Please name and shame your local TA unit.


My intention was nt to slag off my local TA unit, thats why I have nt mentioned there name already.
I was trying to give Topman my honest opinion, and some advice as he asked for.

In all honesty I was gutted that the TA unit did nt turn out to be all I expected, I really keen to join them, but I was left disappointed.

They are failing if they treat anyone who wants to join the way they have treated you. They should be named and shamed in order to bring about a change in attitude.

I agree; there's no excuse.

RAFVR? From what I hear, if you like NBC, fill your boots. From time to time I've met various rock-ape officers on courses (over the years, PCBC, Mortar, CATAC and some seminars) and they all seemed very non-enthused by the routine, which seemed to be basically 80% NBC, 10% practicing stagging on outside hangers, and 10% teaching RAF ground-staff NBC, basic weapon handling and.... how to stag-on.

you are right, and I know you are right, but I am not sure that naming the unit on here would do any good.
Naming the unit would, I think, upset a few people and thats not my intention.

The unit in question has served recently in iraq, and is preparing soldiers for deployment to afghanistan, so I am in no doubt they can do the business.

It was their recruiting that was lacking, not the unit.
I had a similar experience to Chiron when I was choosing between RAuxAf Regiment (2503 Sq) and a TA Infantry unit (EER at Lincoln). The RAuxAf unit were highly professional in their recruiting and generally interested in me when I went for interview. The TA unit on the other hand were pretty shambolic, nobody gave me a proper interview or a brief on the unit and it took around 6 spearate visits to complete all the paperwork and medical (and I still have not completed the whole medical even though I have now been sworn into the TA).

However, in the end I decided to go TA because of the greater range of opportunities. The RAuxAf is very small, geographically scattered and there is not the diversity of roles, so if you don't like what you are doing you are pretty much stuck. Having critised the TA unit for its poor recruiting I have to say that I am really enjoying it now I am in recruit training. Also, it has been very active in operations and there are upcoming opportunities for deployment to either Iraq or Afghanistan. It is just a shame that this unit lets itself down by slack and disorganized recruiting.

Returning to the original post, I would agree that the RAF Reserves offer better conditions and treatment (they seem to look after their own better in the RAF generally). However, there are definitate limitations in terms of opportunities but if you find a role that suits you I would say that on balance you should go RAF Reserves.
If some units are that bad i think i got off lightly as my unit is brilliant.The Ncos make an effort, and the Major in chargemade an effort to learn my name and personally welcomed me to the squadron on the weekend after i got sworn in when we were in the pub whilst doing 'adventure training'. my advice is if there is another unit that would be conviniant, give them a try as not all units are the same
I`m very surprised that I appear to be the first RauxAF personnel to reply to this thread because I do know for a fact that a lot of the lads do follow this site. In responce to the question is RauxAF a viable alternative. Id have to say it not. The two are miles apart on both training and attitudes. The training that I have recieved whilst at my sqn (Very proud to be part of 609 wr squadron), is first class in all areas of my trade. And it has been my misfortune to participate in a joint civil emergency excersise with the TA and I`ve never seen anything so unorganised in my life. Indeed we have had TA guys and ex army join us and wonder why they havent joined us earlier.
I was also very proud to be deployed with my SQn to the GUlf during op telic 1 and we`re waiting for the shout now on the Stan and amongst the gunners on the Sqn moral is high and eager to do the job again. During our tour in the gulf we worked alongside the regular forces overcoming the initial reservations by regulars and earning respect from our collegues.
However. Trades is a different matter. I do belive that there are more trades available in the TA but for me the TA has nothing on the RAF REG.
I have a TA office 2 miles from my home but every other weekend I drive 90 miles each way to join the SQN, and have done for the last 7 years.

Per ardua.

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