A BATHURST teenager says he gained leadership and organisational skills during an army cadet field exercise during the school holidays at Singleton.
Cadet Warrant Officer Class Two Joshua Van Essen, 17, is the Scots School Army Cadet Unit’s Company Sergeant Major in charge of assisting the training of his fellow cadets.
“I joined army cadets four years ago as a leg up into the regular army as I always wanted to join it,” CDTWO2 Van Essen said.
“I feel I want to give something back to my country and by joining the army is how I want to do it.”
CDTWO2 Van Essen joined more than 1300 Australian Army Cadets from across NSW for their annual field exercise (AFX) recently at the Singleton Army Camp.
“Cadets has given me new skills and friends I would never have otherwise had,” he said.
“This is my fourth AFX where I have gained leadership and organisational skills.
“I have also been able to improve on those skills I have already learnt.”
CDTWO2 Van Essen said if a year eight student asked him about joining army cadets, he would advise them to do so.
“Even if your friends say ‘no’, I’d say ‘yes’ and to give it a go as it is always a new learning curve,” he said.
“Army cadets will help you to improve on what you already know and is a great way to meet new friends and have a good time.”
He said his best experience so far in army cadets has been his first live-fire shoot on an army range with military weapons.
Commander of the NSW Cadet Brigade, Colonel Brendan Casey, said the cadets learnt how to erect combat shelters, shoot army weapons on an indoor computer range and field craft during their week away in uniform.
“The NSW Army Cadets Brigade’s AFX was in Singleton this year and we really brought the army back to cadets,” Colonel Casey said.
“On this AFX they used the land-based obstacle course, the water-based obstacle course, fired at an indoor range, learnt roping and rappelling and visited the Infantry Museum.
“The cadets also travelled around in Bushmaster vehicles, fired weapons at the live range and played a military form of skirmish.”
Colonel Casey said his focus this year was to bring the army back to cadets. He said besides the main activities, each of the six cadet battalions - comprising a total of 49 cadet units spread across NSW - ran training in patrolling, first-aid, navigation, bush survival and minor engineering activities.
“The cadets say they love to have the military experience, a military structure and do what soldiers do,” he said.
The Australian Army Cadets is a leading national youth development organisation, with the character and values of the Australian Army. It is founded on strong community partnership, and fosters an ongoing interest in the Australian Army.
There are around 16,000 army cadets ranging in age from 13 to 18 years in around 224 units spread across all states and territories of Australia.