RAFVR(T) Officers and ATC Adults

There is much derision, some justified some not, amongst the Regular Army and TA about Officers serving with the ACF. I personally believe, even more so in recent years, that the ACF is much more accountable to the Army and the Army in turn expects much more of the ACF. No one is suggesting for one moment that the average ACF Officer could lead soldiers in battle as a Regular or TA Officer could be expected to do, but I believe ACF Officers are justified in holding the Queens Commission (anyone who talks about Lord Lieutenant Commissions doesn't know their arse from elbow) for the position of responsibility and accountability they are in.

The commissioning process, again open to criticism from many in the Regular Army and TA, has been tightened up considerably in the past five or so years since the introduction of ACF candidates before the TCB. The majority of candidates also do a series of pre-TCB weekends and interviews. The vast majority of ACF Officers know their role, know their place, keep their head below the parapit and do the best for their cadets.

However, something people may not be aware of is the commissioning process for Officers of the RAF Volunteer Reserve Training Branch (RAFVR(T)). These are the Officers in the ATC. To be commissioned in the RAFVR(T) you have a sit down interview with the Wing Commander (Lt Col equivalent, who runs an ATC 'county') and the Regional Commandant (a Group Captain, Col equivalent, who runs an ATC 'brigade'). That's it: no command tasks, no leaderless tasks, no planning exercises, no obstacle courses, no final races and no lecturettes. They have all their adults, cadets and even Regulars brainwashed into calling them Sir at the end of every sentence and springing to attention with nauseating frequency. They are so prim and proper it is like they are in a comedy sketch.

Also, the ATC places a disproportionate responsibility on civilian instructors - they are expected to teach military skills without any formal training. Civilian instructors regularly help with weapon handling, running ranges, and in certain circumstances are even permitted to be a Range Conducting Officer.

What views do other people have of ATC Officers and the training of Adults?
The only ATC officer I know is a collegue of mine and a former Regular RAF Regt Flt/Lt and frankly I would back him against anyone any time anywhere.

Is this really part of the 'ACF Officers' thread?

Either way, I think it boils down to whether officers have any prior service, regular or TA, and therefore have a better understanding of the way the military works and how to relate to serving soldiers.
Pitster, Probably only vaguely related to the ACF Officer thread. I think the point I was trying to make was that although the ACF Commissioning system may be considered inadequate by some, it is by no means unique and is probably preferable to the ATC system of a nudge and a wink.

More significantly, in the current legal minefield we live in, is it a good idea that the ATC can drag someone off the street and a couple of weeks later that person can be teaching a cadet about weapon handling or aircraft recognition? Maybe the ACF should be making greater use of CIs and giving them greater responsibility - this would be quicker than the mind-numbingly tedious process of putting them into uniform.
Paddy, The new ATC Adult Sgts and Flight Sgts wear the Junior Ranks RAF capbadge (they didn't use adult SNCO ranks until the beginning of this year). ATC Warrant Officers wear the RAF WO capbadge.
im ex ATC, my CO was a willy, a CI we had was ex Wing Commander, he was a bigger willy, and half the wing (batallion) staff were willy's, unless they didnt have one.

The level of politics, backstabbing and power struggle that went on in my wing (2 welsh if anyone cares) was even worse than what it can be in the rest of the forces, and it's even sadder that its done using the kids as pawns.

Don't get me wrong there are quite a few decent people there, mostly WO's, but they dont really have much influence of the willies above them.

sound familiar to anyone?
er aicraft recognition is hardly a life or death matter for a cadet. raf its a typhoon or a typhoon or possibly a typhoon we hav'nt built yet
or the mighty nimrod startegic bomber bwhahaha
weapon handaling could be though
now weapon handling really is dangerous in the ATC, they let me instruct it.
IMHO all Cadet force instructors should be ex mil with enough time in to know whats what...

Simple really, should 'walts' be training what could be the future of our forces?

Load, ready, watch and shoot..... watch and shoot...
This whole thing seems to run alongside various ACF/CCF issues that have been flogged to death! ATC, too many CI's not enough Uniformed adult staff! There are useless Walts in the ranks however as mentioned before these are in the minority. Another example of potential put to waste by Walts!
As an RAFVR(T) Flt Lt myself I have to agree that we have our fair share of idiots and walts but there is a great deal of talent and honest hard working people within the organisation (the theme is the same through all organisations I know of). I myself have never served in HM forces; does this make me a walt? Does it mean I lack self-discipline and the ability to act as a regular would? I don't believe so and a lot of regulars and ex-regulars that I work with would seem to agree that I have standards of an equal level to those set within the regular forces. The only reason I never served is down to bad luck and timing, the trade within crab air that I wanted a career in (air loadmaster, I make a great cup of tea!) was a closed trade at the time due to options for change and remained so for a couple of years. This left me with no alternative but to search for a career elsewhere. I was then left with the dilemma of either continuing the way of life I enjoyed and the opportunity to carry on in a part time sense whilst giving future generations the opportunities to develop as individuals and build their confidence through a variety of interesting and challenging activities or should I go to the pub. I chose the later and a lot of people on this excellent site quickly berate similar volunteers for this action. Granted a lot of people have other motives for joining the cadet forces as it allows them to feel important or offset their failings in their careers or private life or in some cases it is simply the fact that they can boss kids around. What sometimes is forgotten is that people who are happy in their lives and have nothing to prove still give up their free time after a hard day at work to baby-sit other people’s children.

I would agree that it appears that simply sitting two interviews is a poor comparison to officer and aircrew selection for the regular RAF but if you take into perspective that the sort of people that would likely pass the full selection have done and are serving. We are hardly in a position to turn people away just because when they were presented with three pine poles and a length of rope they didn’t automatically build a tripod. Those interviews serve as a filter for the wasters and nothing more. It is the development of these officers and non-commissioned adult NCOs at a local level that is of more importance. Each of them will have to do 1 weeks training at RAFC Cranwell which in my opinion is largely a waste of time, you learn very little in a week, but it is a necessary hurdle to get the job done. Ideally they would all be ex-regulars but in fairness this is unworkable as the numbers required and the turnover of staff is too high, this is why the ATC as an organisation relies heavily on it's civilian instructors. The pressure on uniformed staff becomes greater and greater each year as we are, like many youth organisations, very understaffed. This leads to a high burnout rate and consequently the brighter CIs out there decide that they don't want this extra level of commitment as a volunteer. Does this make them incapable of managing a range? From experience no it doesn't. As a range management instructor I can, hand on heart, state that they all receive the same level of training and assessment and it is down to the individuals ability whether they pass that assessment and are awarded their range qualification or not. It is both unfair and short sighted off people outside the organisation to look down on these volunteers as second-class citizens or unworthy of these qualifications.

Can all the ex-cadets out there really say they got nothing from their cadet experience? Were there no staff that helped them develop into the people they are today?

I for one am better for my time as a cadet and that is why I continue to serve in order to help others. What a selfish 'fatherless' I am eh?
ATC is a youth organisation with a 'disciplined military ethos'. It relies on the goodwill of volunteer RAFVR(T) officrs and CI's for its existence - there is neither the budget nor the manpower for the Regular RAF to run the whole organisation.

Generally, volunteer staff do not sign on for uniformed RAFVR(T) service at first, but have to have served as a CI for a period. I signed up as a CI at a local ATC Squadron last Autumn but still consider myself on probation: most of my time so far has been spent on Sqn activities not at Wing level. Also, I have to be CRB-cleared before I can be left on my own in charge of cadets. (Is this required for DS posted into ATR's, depots and the like ?)

Interviews alone are not the most appropriate way to recruit staff to the ATC, but at least they are multi-stage and take on board the impact one has made as a CI. I suspect that other youth organisations have far less vigorous procedures. Also, how many people get a regular Monday-Friday job on the back of a single one-to-one interview?

There is politics further up the organisation, it seems. Interestingly, alot of these slots at Wing and Region level appear to be filled by ex-Regular RAF officers.
The cadets are a great youth organisation .Some cadets take it far too seriously but their young and will grow up .Some people see it as a alternative or extension from real service .Meeting one of those muppets can put a lot of soldiers off the whole cadet organisation .
From my own experience, the officers, WO's (especially- often semed to be coppers (?) or with regular service) and CI's were a good bunch. The time and effort they put in was appreciated. I learnt a lot - fairly heavy technical stuff, at the age of 14-15, that stood me in good stead for A Level Physics.

Sure, there were a good number of comedy characters - our own CO (if I remember the RAF terminology, I've long since been Armified) was a weirdly accurate reproduction of Captain Mainwaring. But the slightly shamolic aspects were all part of the charm, and a source of much gentle fun and amusement to us kids.

Less chavs in the ATC than the ACF too - now there's an organisation full of delinquents!
I don't know if this is relevant to this thread, or another ACF thread, but I've just put in an application to SW London ACF and been invited to attend one evening per week for 12 weeks as an induction. From what I've read in the forums this has to be a good thing. Is this common to all TAVRA areas? I'm looking forward to it.
Y_Delyn said:
now weapon handling really is dangerous in the ATC, they let me instruct it.
Weapon handling in the ATC was excellent in surrey wing, 1984-1992, when i was a sprog. One sunday every month (sometimes 2) at Bisley shooting actual 'live rounds' on .303 No4s, SLRs Cadet GP rifle L98A1, and anything else that we could get our hands on (On a camp in gib, I fired 9mm sterling, Browning SLP, LMG, GPMG, all courtesy of the RAF regiment)

Many shooting competitions. Many medals won. Very high standard of safety. So what if an RCO was a CI? As long as he has passed the NRA approved training, he has the ability, and the right to conduct ranges with most classes weapons and on most MOD ranges. Each firing point usually had a coach for the firer, senior cadet or adult.

Later in life, I joined the ACF as a an SGT insrtuctor. Shooting? What fcuking shooting? Hardly anyone had even seen a live round, only a few blanks. And why? 'cos they were too fcuking lazy to do the RCO's course, and there was no official encouragement to do it.

Slag off the ATC all you like, but in hindsight, the impoverished, ill equipped ATC did much better for there cadets than the comparatively well equipped and resourced ACF ever did!

Some ATC adults were knobs. But in Surrey wing, they didnt last long, and were usually kicked out. Lot of adults marriages were wrecked though, and there was a fair bit of 'extra-curricular' going on camps and weekends away!

However, 20 years later and the situation is reversed. ACF cadets still don't get enough shooting, but they fare considerably better than ATC cadets. The ATC is killing off shooting because that's a bit too 'military' for them, when you remember that most of the ethos of the parent arm, the RAF is 'Ryanair without the Customer service' and people calling there boss Dave...

(except the Chinook and Harrier drivers Afg. They are nails!)
i was a CI in the ATC for four years and started the commisioning process - but a new job came along and the ATC went out the window.

CI's aren't paid and rarely do their employers give them any additional leave to carry out any cadet related duties they may have - like taking cadets flying during the week or scrounging gear, going to range briefings or doing courses.

i, and many of the staff i was with, thought of the ATC as a youth organistion with good contacts with the military. which is what it is.

we were able to use those military resources available - by the constant harassment of every military unit within 80 miles of bristol - to take 45 kids from a real hellhole to sennybridge 6 times a year, they went on a annual, squardon organised, week long camp with climbing and kayaking for £30, they ambushed an RM JNCO cadre and joined an artillery battery for a day of live firing.

out of this those kids got real experiences that gave them self-discipline and self-confidence, the forces got some extra recruits and they weren't setting light to vauxhall nova's in the safeway car park. i got a lot out of it, it improved my ability to manage and it gave me enormous confidence to go into situations that before i wouldn't of touched with a bargepole.

there are some knobbers who take the military bit too seriously or get off bossing 14 year-olds about, but most are good people, and most of our ex-cadets turn into reasonable members of the public - its also a vastly less 'chavvy' organisation than the ACF.


I too was an adult sgt in the ATC, prior to that, a C.I, and going back even further, a cadet.
I thoroughly enjoyed most of the time i spent within the ranks but the backstabbing and politics were beyond a fcukin joke!
DI ? i spent most of my time after my DI course making tea and laying out parade ground orders to make some jumped up, plastic rupert look as good as he thought he was!
anyway, dont care anymore, im off to join the RMP, hohum.........

Similar threads

New Posts

Latest Threads