RAF Honington News

Graduation of Trainee Gunners Course

Graduate with family.

Congratulations go to the 40 members of Trainee Gunners, on course 6-20 of Meiktila Flight; the newest members of the RAF Regiment to have graduated here at RAF Honington today. 

Accompanied by the Central Band of the RAF, graduates marched proudly on parade in front of family and friends.

Graduates hold rifles during parade.

"I am thrilled to be graduating today.  Thanks to the instructors and the course as a whole; we have supported each other throughout.  I can’t wait to join my Squadron and continue to excel and enjoy my new job."

Leading Aircraftwoman Tatam

Following the parade Graduates were able to meet with representatives from their new Squadrons and find out more about the job that lies ahead.

RAF Music band lead.

Meiktila Flight is part of a new generation of Trainee Gunners who have successfully completed their Phase 1 training at RAF Halton prior to arriving at the RAF Regiment Training Wing here at RAF Honington for a further 20 weeks of Phase 2 training.

Station Commander of RAF Coningsby, Group Captain Peterson OBE MA BSc (Hons), was the Reviewing Officer at the Graduation.

Graduates hold rifles during parade.

"To those graduating today, you have chosen to become a member of the RAF and have therefore elected to serve this country.  You have chosen to put others before yourself, be it your colleagues, those you will one day command or the vulnerable around the world who need your help and protection.  I urge you to seize the vast array of opportunities this unique career will offer you and wish you the best of luck."

Group Captain Peterson
Station Commander RAF Coningsby

The Trainee Gunners are taught basic combat tactics in the Air/Ground Environment, the fundamentals of Air Force Protection and advanced fieldcraft skills, further live-fire ranges are also conducted.  The progressive Physical Training programme continues to build up strength and fitness from Phase 1 training in order to prepare the recruits for the demanding final exercises. 

Audience with wheelchairs watch parade. Heavy vehicles in the background.

The latter part of the course is both physically and mentally demanding and leaves the successful student with a justifiable sense of pride in their achievement.  They have earned the right to wear the RAF Regiment Corps 'Flash,' known informally as 'mudguards,' and join the ranks of a unique Corps.

"In this endeavour I think Emerson said it best: 'Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.'  You have faced challenges to be on this parade square today, and you will undoubtably face more in the future, but in enabling RAF operations in all its varied guises, be the vanguard into those unknowns and leave a path for the RAF to follow safe in the knowledge you have secured and assured it for others to follow."

Group Captain Peterson
Station Commander RAF Coningsby

Graduates hold rifles during parade with Reviewing Officer.

On graduating from this course, the Leading Aircraftmen and women are posted to 1 Squadron RAF Regiment (RAF Honington), II Squadron RAF Regiment (RAF Brize Norton), 15 Squadron RAF Regiment (RAF Marham), 34 Squadron RAF Regiment (RAF Leeming), 51 Squadron RAF Regiment (RAF Lossiemouth), and 63 Squadron RAF Regiment (The Queen’s Colour Squadron, RAF Northolt).

Graduates hold rifles during parade with Firmin Sword.

They will be trained to such a level that they can immediately commence Mission Specific Training for contingency operations. 

Further congratulations go to the Prize Winners:

  • Frank Sylvester Trophy: Leading Aircraftmen Wareham

To commemorate her late husband’s dedication to the Corps and in particular to the training of young Gunners, his widow presented the Frank Silvester Trophy for award to the best all-round Trainee Gunner of each course.

  • The RAF Regiment Association Trophy for Drill and Deportment: Leading Aircraftmen Maddox

This award is made to the Trainee Gunner who has developed an excellent military deportment, assessed both on and off duty, on the parade square and, most importantly during field exercises.

  • Warrant Officer Ramsey Physical Development Cup: Leading Aircraftmen Robinson

This prize is awarded to the Trainee Gunner who achieves the greatest improvement during the physical development course.

  • Leading Aircraftmen Beard Recruits’ Trophy: Leading Aircraftmen Davies

This trophy is awarded to the Gunner who has been voted by his peers on the Course as the most inspirational and supportive member of the Flight.  The recipient of this trophy has provided loyalty, dependability and motivation to those around him during the toughest moments of the training.

  • Senior Aircraftman Luders Champion Shot Trophy: Leading Aircraftman Fletcher

This prize is awarded to the Trainee Gunner who has shot consistently well throughout the course.  He would also be the student who has shown consistent military awareness, on battle and field-firing exercises, in the selection of his shooting positions and use of cover.  He would also be one who has demonstrated consistently a high standard of weapon handling and safety awareness throughout the course.

  • Corporal Bradfield Trophy: Corporal Killa

The Corporal Bradfield Trophy preserves the example of the past embodied by Corporal Bradfield, in the standards set by the Junior Non-Commissioned Officer's of today.  It is awarded to the Corporal Instructor who has displayed leadership, motivation and above all else has set an exemplary standard for the recruits to follow.

"May you continue to rise to the challenges of the future with the motto of the RAF Regiment at the forefront of your mind, a motto and attitude that has brought you here today – 'Per Ardua' – Through Adversity."

Group Captain Peterson
Station Commander RAF Coningsby

Graduates hold rifles during parade.

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