Regional Air Squadron Trophy Competition

Last weekend, we had the opportunity to compete for the Regional Air Squadron Trophy. We were competing against 12 schools from the South West in 5 categories - Drill, Military Knowledge, Command Task, Shooting, First Aid and Aircraft Recognition. We came 2nd in the whole competition that included a 2nd place in First Aid, 3rd place in Drill and joint 3rd in Command Task.

We left Reading School on Saturday morning, to travel to Blandford Forum in Dorset. On the way there, we stopped at the Army Flying Museum in Middle Wallop, learning about the history and uses of different aircrafts over time.

We were allocated accommodation at Blandford Camp, allowing us to prepare for the competition on Sunday, like ironing our uniforms and polishing our parade shoes. We also had the opportunity to meet and get to know the 12 other CCF contingents from the south west of the UK.

Our first event started at 9am, with the 13 of us divided into three teams: Shooting, First Aid and Aircraft Recognition. Through the day, we also competed as a whole team for Military Knowledge, Drill and the Command Task.  

For First Aid, our situation was a car crash, made realistic with smoke, fake blood and props like a crashed bicycle.  As a team, we had assigned responsibilities, e.g. calling the ambulance, collecting the medical history of the casualties, performing CPR etc. As we approached a casualty, we had to apply the most important principle of First Aid -  DRS ABC.  This involves checking if all danger is removed, that the casualty is responsive (if not, then performing CPR), calling the ambulance, making sure their airways are open and they are breathing and to check if they are bleeding heavily. We had an unconscious casualty who was treated with CPR and a real AED! We helped recover two other casualties and the judges were very impressed with our efficiency of handling the situation.

For Aircraft Recognition, we had to be able to correctly identify 25 different aircrafts from odd angles and positions. To prepare for this we had to learn how to recognise around 50 aircrafts ranging from historical to foreign military to civilian aircrafts.  We used a technique called WEFT (Wings, Engines, Fuselage and Tail), that allowed us to correctly identify an aircraft by identifying each of its parts.

For Shooting, a team of 4 had to fire Scorpion air rifles from a distance of 10 meters. Although we didn't have much practice shooting an air rifle prior to the competition, we had learnt about the theory of marksmanship through the principles, breathing techniques and with the help of different acronyms like EAST (Eye, Aperture, Sights, Target).  We achieved a good result as our overall grouping of the shots was close. One of our team mates, Prisha, shot all of her 5 shots through the same point in the bullseye! 

We competed as a team of 13 in the Drill and Command Task. In Drill, We had to demonstrate our proficiency of marching in formation with prescribed movements. We were also judged on the standard of our uniform and how uniform we looked as a Flight.

For the command task, we were given the scenario of reassembling a ‘radioactive biocube’ in twenty minutes to avoid contaminating the environment nearby. In practice, it involved fitting a number of pieces together in a vessel. This was particularly challenging as our team was divided into two: one half who could see how the blocks fitted into the containment vessel, and the other who had to reassemble it behind a barrier. Each team member could only pick up each block once and for 45 seconds, and the two teams could only communicate verbally, testing our patience and teamwork skills. Even though we didn’t complete the task, we still achieved joint third place!

Next month, we’ll be going to RAF Wittering to compete in the National Air Squadron Trophy against the four other regions in England. We are very excited and proud of our achievements so far and can’t wait to compete again in March.

By Sudiksha, Sophie, Samragee, Coco, Prisha, Maya and Aadya