The RAF's newest recruits have been putting their skills to the test during Exercise Blue Warrior whilst being observed by the Royal Australian Air Force.
Members of the Royal Australian Air Force No 1 Recruit Training Unit have been observing RAF recruits from the Recruit Training Squadron at RAF Halton showcasing the skills they have learnt over four weeks of initial force protection training.
Exercise Blue Warrior, held at Bramley Camp military training area in Berkshire, is used to confirm that the recruits can successfully operate in field conditions whilst demonstrating basic force protection skills.
Wing Commander Ross Jones, Commanding Officer of the Royal Australian Air Force No 1 Recruit Training Unit, said:
We are over here to compare best practices and exchange information, and so far we’ve seen some really good ideas and ways of doing things. In fact, I want this to be the first of many visits and make it an ongoing process.
Over four days the recruits demonstrated a whole range of skills ranging from basic fire and manoeuvre drills and weapons handling tests to first aid and personal administration.
Following on from refreshers and demonstrations by their instructors, the exercise culminated in a series of assessments consisting of reaction to effective enemy fire, close quarter battle and battlefield first aid.
Aircraftman Steven Ryan, aged 26 from Solihull, said:
The training I’ve had so far has given me a much broader skill set and I have definitely made lifelong friends already!
Sergeant Jez Smart, 33, a senior regiment instructor on initial force protection training, said:
This is a great opportunity for the troops to demonstrate to us that they have reached the high standards that the RAF expects.
Commenting on the training that the recruits receive he said:
All of our force protection instructors are RAF Regiment corporals who have recently returned from operations in Afghanistan, and whilst we have a strict training programme we follow, the recruits really benefit from the instructors’ experience.
Whilst Exercise Blue Warrior covers the practical training received, the recruits still have a further 12 days of assessment before they graduate.
Sergeant Sue Burrell, a recruit training instructor who guides the recruits through their training from day one until graduation, said:
Some of our recruits are as young as 16 when they join, who have never lived away from home, so it’s incredible to see how they develop as individuals and bond as a team over the nine weeks they are with us into the final product when they graduate as airmen.