On Saturday 7th March Flt Lt Ian Crewe and Flt Lt Paul Hincks of 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron attended the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing annual CO's Conference at DCAE Cosford.
The conference hosted by Wing Commander Pravin Ladwa Officer Commanding Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing is an annual forum in which Squadron Commanders and Wing Staff get together to discuss a wide variety of subjects covering cadet training and administrative matters.
But this year the gathering of Squadron commanders and Wing Staff Officers had to be on their behaviour because the top man himself, Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore Ian Stewart was also in attendance.
Addressing delegates, Air Commodore Stewart described how he had benefited from his time as an Air Cadet, reaching the rank of CWO and how his cadet service had influenced his career in the RAF which subsequently led him back to the Air Cadet Movement as its Commandant.
Air Commodore Stewart then explained how he saw the need to keep the key word ‘Air' in Air Cadets by retaining the current levels of flying and gliding. Faced with the present financial situation and the need to avoid cuts he expressed the need to show the value of our activities and that it was important that the public see what we're doing.
During an open question and answer session the Commandant then went on to discuss a wide range of subjects including the introduction of the new Regional Activity Centres which he saw as a significant improvement in training resource available to cadets.
The Commandant was thanked for personally writing to a cadet from the wing whom he had met during a previous activity. Air Commodore Stewart explained that when he first took on the job as Commandant Air Cadets he heard that a Brigadier had written to an Air Cadet and that the letter meant so much to the cadet that he eventually went on to join the Army. He added jokingly, “We can't have Air Cadets joining the Army so I now like to write to them myself.”
In closing Air Commodore Stewart described both the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing and the Central & East Region as flagships of the Air Cadet Movement and said “We are all adding value to these young people and should be proud of them all. Thank you for inviting me to your conference and I look foreword to revisiting the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing in the near future.”
Wing Commander Pravin Ladwa Officer Commanding Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing said, “We are so glad to have been able to have Air Commodore Stewart at our conference. It's been a unique opportunity to enable our squadron commanders to table their questions and concerns directly to the Commandant Air Cadets. I would also like to thank Wing Commander Steve Mills, Regional Training officer, for coming along and giving our staff an update on the progress of the Regional Activity Centres and taking us through the BTEC vocational qualifications and opportunities available to our cadets and staff through the CVQO”