Australia’s best-kept youth secret has arrived in Rockingham.
A new Air Force Cadets Squadron has opened in Rockingham so that local young people can learn to fly gliders and powered aircraft while still in their teens, develop bush survival skills, take part in firearms safety training, and get TAFE business qualifications before they even have a fulltime job.
“I’m delighted that we are able to open our new No 708 Squadron in Rockingham,” said Wing Commander (AAFC) Robert Somerville AM, Officer Commanding. Air Force Cadets No 7 Wing in Western Australia.
“The Air Force Cadets is open to both males and females, and eligibility for membership is simple: Be aged 13-18 years (you can stay to 20), fit enough to march, camp and fly as a passenger, have parental permission and be an Australian resident.”
Air Force Cadets are able to qualify as pilots of gliders and powered aircraft before they’re old enough to drive the family car. This means they can legally fly a glider solo at age 15, and pilot a powered aircraft on their own from just age 16.
During the Squadron year, Cadets study aeronautics, navigation, meteorology and radio communications, first aid and music. They also undertake firearms safety training under military supervision and participate in bush activities that include fieldcraft and survival training.
Air Force Cadets provides recognised accreditation towards Year 12 school graduation certificates.
In addition, the theoretical and practical leadership training provided by the Air Force Cadets makes them eligible to receive the national TAFE Certificate III in Business Administration qualification, formally recognising their considerable experience in front-line supervision that will propel them, years ahead of their peers, to become outstanding leaders in the community and workplace.
The new No 708 Squadron’s Commanding Officer, Flight Lieutenant (AAFC) Terry Lawrence, is a Rockingham resident and was formerly in charge of Mandurah No 707 Squadron.
A multi-engine commercial pilot, he also has more than 12 years leadership experience as an officer of Cadets in a range of training and administration roles.
“Our Squadron meets at the Military Multi-User Depot, 127 Dixon Road, Rockingham every Friday from 6.30pm to 10pm,” said Flight Lieutenant Lawrence.
“We have recruiting periods at the beginning and in the middle of each year. So, if you are interested in joining Australia’s premier youth organisation, you need to turn up between now and 31 March where you can see what goes on and have all your questions answered without obligation.
“Or you can ring me direct on 0400 239 741 and I’ll be happy to give you information over the phone,” said Flight Lieutenant Lawrence.
Across Western Australia, there are nearly 900 Air Force Cadets and staff, based in 11 metropolitan and four country Squadrons, and including RAAF Base Pearce.
The Air Force Cadets was originally the Air Training Corps which was formed in 1941 during the Second World War to help train aircrew before they joined the RAAF.
Air Force Cadets continues to be fully supported by the Royal Australian Air Force, but with no military service obligations.
Although many Cadets go on to join Air Force or find valuable careers in civil aviation, as a result of their skills and leadership development, they invariably find it easier to get a job and build a career, no matter what they decide to do with their life.
Flight Lieutenant (AAFC) Terry Lawrence of Rockingham is Commanding Officer of the new Rockingham Air Force Cadets Squadron.