An enthusiastic group of Army cadets from Rockwood Academy in Birmingham spent the weekend (10-11 February) learning about field skills from soldiers at a Shrewsbury-based Army unit.
The 21 boys and seven girls from the Academy’s Combined Cadet Force visited their affiliated Army unit, E Company of 8th Battalion The Rifles. Following a safety brief and quick tour of the Army reserve centre, the pupils’ physical fitness was tested on an obstacle course and they were taught lifesaving skills. The youngsters also had the chance to practice basic infantry tactics including fire and manoeuvre and use of cover skills on an air soft range.
After an evening meal to refuel, the pupils dived into night time activities which included a map-reading exercise with a compass and the use of night viewing and virtual reality (VR) headsets. The VR headsets proved particularly popular with the cadets.
The pupils were woken at 6am sharp on Sunday for more practice on the paintball range, following breakfast, before being taken to Shrewsbury Castle and Museum. Colonels from The Rifles and 11 Signal & West Midlands Brigade showed the cadets the history of all the Army Regiments in Shropshire while museum curators answered the pupils’ many questions.
The cadets were then taken back to Copthorne Barracks, the home of E Company, where they enjoyed Sunday lunch before being presented with certificates and medals.
Captain Nick Vazquez from E Company 8th Battalion The Rifles said:
“This was a fantastic weekend where every single cadet got stuck in. We tried to make it a mix of fun and serious Army discipline and training. It was really rewarding to see the smiles on the youngsters’ faces when they received their medals at the end of the weekend. Hopefully the parents were pleased that their children went home tired but having learned some important new skills.”