Army Cadets from across the South West took part in a training exercise run by Reservists from 6 Rifles. Senior Cadets from Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and Bristol attended the Advanced Fieldcraft Challenge, which took place at Okehampton Camp, Dartmoor.
Throughout the weekend, Cadets were given access to all the equipment that 6 Rifles would use during an exercise, and were taught lessons in fieldcraft by the Reservists themselves.
As well as practising and learning a range of skills, the Cadets also dealt with the added challenge of coping with the harsh Dartmoor weather.
The exercise started on Friday evening and culminated in a final exercise on Sunday, which took place on the Dartmoor Training Area.
The final exercise was watched by several guests including HM Lord-Lieutenant of Devon, Sir Eric Dancer KCVO CBE JP and Deputy Commander Land Forces and Head of Army Reserves, Lieutenant General Munro.
Lieutenant General Munro praised the way 6 Rifles works with local Army Cadets, and the training the Reserves provide for them. “In my previous position as Deputy Commander 43 (Wessex) Brigade, I was always impressed with the very close relationship between the Rifles and the Cadets within this area.”
Lieutenant Colonel Tom Harper MBE, Commanding Officer 6 Rifles, said about working with the Cadets; “I think it is a fantastic model and we are looking forward to seeing where we can go next. We have got the Cadet Band competition coming up, as well as Combined Cadet Force support over the summer.”
6 Rifles Training Officer, Major John Penhale, who has worked closely with Devon ACF over the last 6 months to plan the exercise, emphasised the benefits of the weekend for both the Cadets and the Reservists who took part. “I have been constantly surprised in a positive way by the enthusiasm, commitment, and the physical robustness of the Cadets, in a way that I wasn’t expecting.
“From a 6 Rifles perspective, we get the opportunity to exercise some of our commanders in a low pressure environment, and allow our junior commanders to develop their leadership and command skills.”
The UK cadet movement is one of the oldest and most successful voluntary youth organisations in the world, celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2010. In the South West, there are more than 8,500 cadets supported by 2,000 adult volunteers. For more information, go to the Wessex RFCA website, www.wessex-rfca.org.uk/cadets/.