Squadron Leader James Miles is a volunteer at 29F (Rugby) Squadron. He started out as a cadet at 301(Bury St Edmunds) Squadron in 1985 thanks to a boyhood fascination with aviation and aircraft. His love of Tornado jets prompted James to join the Royal Air force Air Cadets at the age of 14, and his time included securing a gliding scholarship at RAF Swanton Morley, going solo just after his 18th birthday.
James rose to the rank of Cadet Warrant Officer before leaving at the age of 19 to pursue a degree in Aviation Engineering at the Royal Military College of Science. He returned to the Air Cadets as a Civilian Instructor when his son joined, and has since become a qualified Lowlands Leader to help with Duke of Edinburgh expeditions. He enjoys geocaching when not working in supply chain management.
One moment that stands out is when myself and some cadets went in a Puma helicopter around London and saw the Shard from above. That was an amazing day and will stay with me forever, especially seeing the cadets’ reactions and how much they got out of it. But my real highlight is knowing that I can help the cadets.
I remember how the staff set me up for success when I was a cadet and I look back on those times with great fondness. For instance, when cadets reach the final checkpoint at the end of a Duke of Edinburgh expedition, you can see the relief and delight as well as the sense of the achievement that they've done it. That’s what I get out of it, talking to them about their experiences and seeing them progress.