The week of 24 October 2016, saw 606 (Beaconsfield) Squadron invited to Devon and Somerset Wing to take part in Exercise Phoenix Griffin VI.
Report by Cadet Sergeant Varsani (606)
Being given the opportunity to attend Exercise Phoenix Griffin as a guest squadron to Devon and Somerset Wing was an experience that the Cadets who attended have said they will never forget. We made memories and friends whilst pushing ourselves to do things that we feared and had perhaps never done before. Upon arrival, every Cadet was split into a different flight with at least 25 other people we had never met before, and although it was a daunting aspect at first, all of the cadets were very welcoming and by the end everyone had made a lot of friends. Throughout the week, we participated in two activities a day, for four days including everything from Field Training to Rifle Drill during the day and in the evenings there were discos put on where we could socialise and relax.
One of the activities we did on Exercise Phoenix Griffin was Bubble Foot. We were split into teams and the cadets had to wear a plastic bubble ball around their torso which their head and legs would stick out of either side. We then played football and other games such as Bulldog and many of us fell over several times! The NCOs in each team were also able to gain bonus points for their teams by taking part in the NCO Brawl where all the NCOs would run into each other and the last man standing would win the points.
Another one of the activities was shooting. As well as having the opportunity to do our weapons training and handling tests, we were also able to practice our live fire on the No 8 and L98 range and one of our cadets even managed to achieve the score expected of a Corps Marksman.
We did Field Training at Exercise Phoenix Griffin and were split into groups based on our levels of field-craft experience. After both groups had cam-creamed up, whilst one group started straight off with an exercise, the other group learnt the basic field hand signals and basic camouflage and concealment. Both groups then re-joined and were briefed about the exercise that everyone would do which included the cadets having to find a numbered tile within their groups of three whilst being careful not to be spotted by the staff otherwise they would have to run through puddles as punishment before going to prison. Once everyone had finished, it was straight on to the vehicle pull where all the cadets grabbed on to the rope and had to run whilst pulling the vehicle through a set distance.
Rifle drill was a completely new experience to all of the cadets that attended the Phoenix Griffin camp. We used L98 weapons and went from the very basics of rifle drill. We learnt all of the movements with all of the timings including present arms and carry arms. Within our flights we were then set the challenge of coming up with our own drill sequence using the movements we had been taught combined with formation ideas of our own. The staff in charge then recorded our rifle drill sequence and every flight’s sequence was uploaded to YouTube.
At Exercise Phoenix Griffin every flight took part in several engineering challenges. These included making a flying object, that would be launched through the air by a pump, out of a water bottle cardboard tube, cardboard and tape. Another of the challenges was making a tower completely out of straws paperclips and Sellotape which needed to hold an egg on the top of it at a minimum of 45 cm. The next challenge was then to make a wind powered vehicle from various objects such as milk bottle lids, straws, cardboard and other miscellaneous objects. Another of the challenges was to create a safe guard for an egg, that would be launched from a pressurised water bottle rockets, out of a plastic sheet string, paper, straws and Sellotape. All of the cadets in the flight then went out to the field to test how well our eggs would be guarded from the rocket and many of us were surprised at how well they survived.
Clay pigeon shooting and paint balling were combined into one activity slot and it was very exciting as a lot of the cadets had never experienced clay pigeon shooting before just like rifle drill. In clay pigeon shooting every cadet is one on one with a trained staff member who took us through 10 shots to hit the clay pigeons. Some of our cadets took to it naturally and gained a score over 50%. Every cadet also had an opportunity to do paint balling. We were taken through a paint balling course with several targets and were challenged to get the best time with the best accuracy whilst having to reload our ammunition and run from target to target with the weapon.
All of the cadets were also able to try their hand at casualty simulation. We were split into two groups within our flights where one learnt about creating fake wounds, burns and blisters and the other group learnt about casualty priority. We were then taken into the close quarters battle range where we were able to put our skills into practice in a simulated first aide exercise. The 2IC and IC acted as casualties with other dummies as well which the cadets had to take the casualty to the safe zone after having completed the necessary first-aid. Before the exercise, the cadets had learnt how to safely carry a casualty with an injury when they could not walk and put this into practice on one of either of the living casualties in the situation.
Another of the activities was the River Crossing in which we had to get a casualty between three trees using planks of wood, carabiners and rope to come up with an effective system to get the dummy across safely. We were then challenged to adapt our mechanisms to be able to raise and lower the casualty in the middle of its journey there and in the middle of its journey back. It required huge amounts of teamwork and leadership skills whilst thinking of the most effective and safe way to transport the dummy.
Overall, all of the cadets from 606 Beaconsfield who attended Exercise Phoenix Griffin enjoyed ourselves tremendously and would do it again without a doubt.