The father of one from St Just, who runs his own business as a mobile car valeter, spent his 41st birthday in the vast gym at RAF St Mawgan and then being yelled at in a parade ground drill session.
But he’s enjoying every minute of his training with 505 (Wessex) Squadron, glad to be learning new skills, enjoying the challenges and being part of a team.
Over a quick lunch in the NAAFI, Dan said: “The amount we cram into these training weekends is more than I expected. You do come home pretty shattered at times. And there’s a limited amount of time to take everything in but we are being tested for a purpose.”
The Squadron’s very first recruit intake, 11 men and two women, have been undergoing Phase 1 training before going on to achieve trades-based skills in Phase 2. 505 Squadron provides support for other RAF units by supplying intelligence analysts, drivers, HR specialists and supplies and logistics personnel – chefs, who are much in demand across the RAF.
The Squadron is looking for self-motivated men or women aged 18-54, who must attain and maintain a certain standard of fitness, according to their age and gender. Reservists living up to 100 miles away can claim mileage expenses for attending training at RAF St Mawgan.
Dan applied to join the Squadron after responding to a news item on social media earlier this year and attending an information day. He is lined up for a logistics role once he completes his trade training.
Although with no Forces background, he had considered joining the military in his early 20s.
“At my age now, you do get to the stage when you should just say ‘Yes’ to more opportunities in life. I could look back in ten years’ time and think I should have done that and gone into the RAF. So, here I am.”
Apart from family commitments, Dan has a passion for cars, boats and most things mechanical. He also keeps bees and enjoys rowing for his local Cornish pilot gig club.
He added: “I’ve have taken part in championships at the Scilly Isles and completed the 26-mile Eddystone Challenge, so I’m fine with the fitness side. If you’ve got a core level of fitness, you should be OK, and if you’re not then the PTIs here have the know-how to bring you on.”
Squadron Leader David Mann, Commanding Officer of 505 Squadron, said: “We opened our doors to prospective recruits in February, inviting those who were eligible to take an aptitude test. We then began to attest them in April and held our first training weekend in September, in preparation for Phase 1 training.”
Phase 2 training will take place over two weeks at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire and will include instruction in using a rifle and force protection, first aid and also chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence.
Squadron Leader Mann added: “Trade training is comprehensive and transferable into civilian employment. For instance, driver training involves off-road skills, camouflage and concealment, loading and restraints, route planning, self-recovery and basic maintenance.
“When fully trained, they will be qualified to drive articulated vehicles, buses, battlefield ambulances, cranes and airfield vehicles, such as fuel trucks, ice sweepers and aircraft tugs. All these skills and qualifications can enhance civilian employment opportunities.”
505 Squadron restores the RAF Reserves’ presence in the South West after a ten-year absence following the disbandment of 2625 (County of Cornwall) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment. It operated from RAF St Mawgan from 1982 to 2006.