After the success of the first National Cadet Signals Competition last year, Exercise Rolling Thunder was back again at RSS Blandford for 2009, over the weekend of 21st / 22nd February.
This year saw more competitors taking part, and obviously news of the 2008 event had travelled a long way, as teams arrived from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and every corner of England.
With the challenge of more teams, The National Cadet Signals Training Team, headed by Major Mike Foster, supported by Regulars of the Royal Corps of Signals, had their work cut out to provide challenging signals based activities to keep all the teams occupied throughout the day.
Lt Dan Lehmann, Training Officer for the Cadet Signals Training Team, said “The success of last year led us to make Rolling Thunder 2009 an even bigger event. Trying to accommodate 24 teams into the competition has been a logistical challenge, and without the support we have received from all the staff at RSS Blandford, and the ACF and CCF Instructors who are running stands, Exercise Rolling Thunder would not be possible.”
To keep competitors on their toes and after feedback from last year, 2009 saw the introduction of two new activities, and a new design for the voice procedure exercise and Corps knowledge stand. Once again teams faced the struggle of getting to grips with decoding and encoding BATCO, putting up various masts and antennas, and building a line crossing across a simulated “busy” road. For good measure, the PTIs from 4 Mil Training Sqn, put the teams through their paces with a March, before a competition shoot on the DCCT, and the Corps recruiting team had a surprise stand in place too.
This year the we were honoured to have the competition visited by ACFA Chairman, Major General (retd) Malcolm Wood CBE, and Colonel (retd) Crichton Wakelin OBE, SO1 Cadets at HQ Land Forces. They visited all the stands in the afternoon, and had the chance to chat with competitors, and hear what the cadets thought of Rolling Thunder, and signalling in the ACF and CCF.
With the teams beginning their first stand shortly after sunrise at 0700, most teams were pleased that by 1700, with the competition over, there was time for a hot meal in the cookhouse, and some time to relax in Blandford Camp’s ten pin bowling alley for a light hearted evenings entertainment.
Sunday morning saw the chance for all competitors to receive a debrief from all directing staff running the stands, before the prize giving began. This year Major General (retd) Malcolm Wood CBE presented certificates, medals and trophies on the Sunday morning before teams departed. The General was also kind enough to address the competitors, AIs and DS, outlining his career in the Army and stressing the importance of taking part in events such as Exercise Rolling Thunder for the personal development of the ACF, CCF and ATC cadets who competed this year.
Dorset ACF followed up last year’s success by winning the overall team event once more, and Cadet Sgt Sam Turner of Lancaster Royal Grammar School School CCF won the best individual signaller award. Winners, runners up and the third placed teams and individuals all received medals, and Dorset ACF and Cadet Sgt Turner were awarded trophies that had been kindly donated by HQ Land. Cadet Corporal Naomi Trunks of Somerset ACF won the Best Shot Trophy for the DCCT part of the March and Shoot event. Every team taking part received a certificate to commemorate their participation in this second national cadet signalling competition.
Lt Col Peter Richards, SO2 TA & Cadets at the Royal School of Signals, gave another of his renowned speeches at the prize giving, stressing how important signalling skills are within the army and also within civilian life.
Major Mike Foster (Cadet Force National Signals Advisor) said: “Once again, Exercise Rolling Thunder could not have run without fantastic support from Headquarters Land Forces and from the Royal Corps of Signals, in particular 4 Military Training Squadron, Rhino Troop, Cable Systems Division and the Corps Recruiting Team who have all assisted with the competition. Also S/Sgt Gareth Howell of the TA & Cadet cell at DCCIS, has once again been invaluable, as the main POC between my team and the Corps. Everyone has thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, and we now have the difficult challenge of improving again for 2010. Thank you to all my team for their hard work, in particular Lt Dan Lehmann, the competition organiser, Flying Officer Alex May, SMI John Turrell and SSI Ben Dodson, and also to all those who attended, both cadets and adults, for making it such an enjoyable event. A particular thank you to all those adults who acted as stand DS, Maj Mike Vokes, Capt Caroline Dyer, Capt David Holman, Lt Tim Rawson, Lt Pete Whiffen, U/O Sam Sharpe, U/O Tony Hall, O/Cdt Lucy Lehmann, SI Gary Ledger, PI Dave Evans and Sig Ben Steele. Once again this year we have witnessed friendly and cheerful competitiveness, extremely high standards and a great deal of effort from all participants. It makes me very proud of my team’s achievement in setting up this competition.”
|2nd||Duke of Yorks Royal Military School||157|
|3rd||Somerset Cadet Bn (The Rifles) ACF||149|
|4th||Lancaster Royal Grammar School CCF||147|
|5th||Merchant Taylors School CCF||144|
|6th||Sutton Valence CCF||143|
|7th||Central & East Region ATC||132|
|9th||Warwick School CCF||125|
|10th||Angus & Dundee ACF||124|
|11th||West Lowland Bn ACF||122|
|13th||Beds & Herts ACF||120|
|14th||Woodbridge School CCF||115|
|16th||Greater Manchester ACF||92|
|17th||1st NI Bn ACF||88|
|18th||Glasgow & Lanarkshire ACF||81|
|19th||SE London ACF||57|
Howell Trophy (Best Individual) – Awarded to Cdt Sgt Turner of Surrey ACF.