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Cadet Inspections

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The focal point of the exercise is the completion of the ACF Detachment Inspection Report (AF E7502) which covers:

a. Det details eg address, det comd's name

b. Strengths including held strength, parade strength etc

c. Training e.g. number of star passes, attendance at camp and a free-text description of 'Other Achievements'

d. List of det staff

e. List of cadets joining Armed Forces

f. Points raised by det comd (watch out for 'nobbling' by duty adult — see below)

g. Administration (best to leave this one to last after you've done a walk round

h. Arms & Ammunition — this is the one section in which I take no prisoners. Arms tend not to be a problem but some of the ammo accounting will make your hair turn grey

i. Your freetext report. It allows you to amplify anything you find, good and bad but use the latter sparingly.

After you've finished with it, it goes up the CoC so many people take an interest in it... and this is the first of your concerns.

Most (I hope) dets have a good working relationship with their Coy and Bn staff — one or more of whom may also be present—however, if there are 'issues' your spidey-sense will pick it up quickly from clues like questions you direct at the Det Comd being 'intercepted' by the 'duty adult' from Coy or Bn. This has happened once or twice; the solution is to make sure that you spend at least 5 mins alone with the det comd. Be careful about taking sides, I have found that any one (and sometimes all) of the ACF staff present can be at fault.

Dress can vary from SD through barrack dress to CS95. Going by the maxim that you should never trust an officer who wears his SD more than he absolutely has to, the latter is all that is needed.

Keep in mind that this is not an exercise in 'bringing the ACF up to your standards' (except for the dangerous stuff of course); these people do a lot in return for a little and deserve encouragement.

Take some glossy stuff with you like posters or regimental brochures and don't forget to ask if they are short of training material. Race through the mundane stuff and then spend time walking round and talking to them.

The ACF estate is chronically short of money so don't waste time with 'could do with a lick of paint' suggestions — look for the critical stuff like safety hazards.

The inspection is an important part of the cadet detachment's year. Sadly, a small number of the adult staff don't seem to have been told this yet.

I'd add that at many Det Inspections I did I was asked to speak to the senior cadets about options for joining the Army afterwards. It could often be painfully embarrassing (silence, cadets looking at boots/shuffling feet etc.) but once they came out of their shells I had some excellent chats with the cadets, including items useful for the report.

On the dress front I felt the Units deserved the very best I could give so I always went in SD. Speak to the SO2/3 Cadets at your Bde HQ (or whoever it is who tasked you) as they should have a full brief and previous years' reports for you to look at.

Thanks to StickyBomb and CaptainPlume