Reception to Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Australian Air Force Cadets
Kaye and I warmly welcome to Government House representatives of Australian Air Force Cadets, ranging from senior members of the AAFC, including Chairman, Air Vice Marshall Hugh Bartholomeusz, and senior members of its National Council, to cadets themselves. I also note with enthusiasm the presence tonight of Air Commodore Scott Winchester.
We are here to mark an important anniversary – the establishment of what was then the Air Training Corps, early in World War Two (and tonight I have been given a commemorative book; it will give me and Kaye great pleasure to add it to the Government House Fernberg Library collection).
While the organisation’s main objective 75 years ago was, naturally, to train young men to join the wartime RAAF, the goals of the Corps, later the Australian Air Force Cadets, began to change following the war.
The experience of serving in the cadets, and exposure to the discipline and training programs of the AAFC, were rightly seen as building skills among young men – and young women after 1982 – skills which would serve them well in later life, and serve the wider community as well.
I support this view “rightly” from a degree of personal experience.
I was an Army Cadet at Churchie from 1962 to 1965. Then I joined the CMF, in the Queensland University Regiment, to 1971. These were, for me, life defining experiences. I emphasize tonight the lessons of self-discipline and management which I hope made me a better citizen.
There were other lesser experiences, very much of the era: such as seeing the chef in the mess at breakfast ashing his cigarette into the cooking eggs – I am sure inadvertently, I think I am sure… but I won’t dwell on those things!
Drawn from all of that, however, and resuming an appropriately serious tone, I should say that I enthusiastically endorse our younger citizens serving in the feeder services, along with our regular branches, the full time serving people, and indeed these days a good many of them part time, on whose dedication our freedoms so vitally depend. All of you are wonderful people deserving our unstinting support.
There are others now very close to me who would certainly share these sentiments.
Among others, my Honorary Aide-de-Camp from the Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Lieutenant (pron. Lef-tenant) Rob Moran was an AAFC Cadet from our own Two Wing.
And my Official Secretary, Air Commodore Mark Gower – he was a Cadet, although also of the Army ilk…
The modern AAFC offers similar, highly valuable benefits including, in more recent times, the linking of cadets’ training activities with Duke of Edinburgh Awards and formal skills qualifications.
I therefore feel both qualified and confident in saying to all cadets: you made an excellent choice in joining the AAFC, whatever career you decide to pursue!
In the spirit of that endorsement, I congratulate that AAFC on the many wonderful contributions the organisation has made to generations of young Australians since 1941 – in particular to young Queenslanders who have served in our State’s two AAFC Wings. It is uplifting to be celebrating positive support and encouragement of our youth.
As Governor, as Honorary Commodore of No. 23 Squadron and Patron of the Squadron’s Association in Queensland, I join you in thanking and symbolically saluting the many who have served in and supported the marvellous work of the AAFC over more than seven decades.
This is your night: Kaye and I very much hope you enjoy it!