RAF Odiham Annual Camp 2015
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By Cdt B Darvill - 2431 (Keighley) Squadron
Between 15th and 22nd August 2015, 6 cadets from 2431 (Keighley) Squadron ATC, attended an Annual camp at RAF Odiham, Hampshire.
RAF Odiham is well known for being the home of the RAF’s Chinook Helicopter Force.
Facilities at Odiham are generally good. They are clean and kept in nice shape, an example is the pavilion, which includes changing rooms showers and toilets which is nothing fancy but they serve their purpose and do it well. The accommodation is tents outside, they can be pleasant but also not. They are not very big but that is a good thing as they conserve heat and it is good for compact storage. Meals at the mess are excellent and are recommended for all people, even if they are picky eaters.
We did the basic station visits on an RAF base like going around the air traffic control tower (ATC tower), we also visited the fire station and its interesting mini-games which included, tug-of-war and the losers had to go through a freezing chemical shower. RAF Odiham held a unique visit to the JHSS (Joint Helicopter Support Squadron). This consisted of watching how to correctly prepare an object to be air lifted via net and also a tour of the jeep that holds a radio used for communicating to the Chinook helicopter and to the ground team.
During the camp there were also extra activities, for example go-carting. Go-carting is next to the camp and is fun for everyone. It is competitive and has plenty of opportunities for drifting and overtaking. Another activity we did was canoeing at Oxford, this fun as you get to explore the river and its beauty. We played a fun game in the canoes called fruit salad (where each person is allocated a name of a fruit and when that fruit is called you have to swap with another person with the same fruit). Another activity we did was visiting museums. We visited Portsmouth for the Royal Naval Museum, which featured a tour of the harbor and a tour of the HMS Victory.
On Friday we were granted a flight in a Chinook. We suited up and headed up to the beast of a helicopter and immediately we were hit with a gust of warm air from the exhausts. As the trip went on it got better, when they lowered the ramp you could see an amazing sight as we passed over people's houses and farmland and various other terrain. The dual rotor helicopter was amazing to see never mind to have a flight in. What a brilliant way to end the week.
In a nutshell the camp was brilliant and I would highly recommend it to any cadet and NCO. The accommodation can be rough sometimes but you will get used to it and the meals are fantastic. Anyone can take part in the extra activities and hopefully you get a flight in a Chinook as it is brilliant and everyone had a good time.
For more information please visit the Squadron website