"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; 

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 

At the going down of the sun and in the morning 

We will remember them." 

"Lest We Forget." 

For ANZAC day this year, 213 Squadron Australian Air Force Cadets (AAFC) joined war veterans, military personnel, Currumbin RSL club members and general public in commemorating the fallen soldiers of wars gone by. 

Elephant Rock - Dawn Service 

We were up at 1.30am for 3.00am rollcall in SD (Service Dress) uniform at Currumbin RSL, our squadron holding close ties with this RSL, we loaded into buses for Currumbin Wildlife sanctuary to marshal for a short but very respectful march of honour to the service at the rock.  

We were joined by a Flotilla (Navy lingo for Squadron) of Navy Cadets where we all weren’t allowed to move or break formation for around two-hours from then until the service ending. This takes effort, was a great exercise in self-discipline and focus because we had to control our movement and mentally push through the inconvenience of standing up straight for so long. 

Simply being involved in this event where we get to show our respect towards past and present soldiers who serve or served is the highlight. Being recorded by the press (Channel 7 News) marching and standing still in formation also a proud moment. 

Having a fly-over of both a Spitfire (UK) and a P51 Mustang (USA) was great however later, during the Mid-Morning Service at Currumbin, a Super Hornet buzzed us at 500 feet flying over the Currumbin RSL which was very cool. 

All the performances offered great singing with some classics such as, The White Cliffs of Dover by Vera Lynn or, I Was Only 19 by The Herd being performed. Luckily at 4.30am, the rain showers and wind had stopped and apart from a couple of light sprays, the service was dry for us all. 

Currumbin RSL - Mid-Morning Service 

Back to Currumbin RSL we headed to have our breakfast (bacon and egg roll) and coffee to ready ourselves for the Mid-Morning Service which is even more formal and intimate focused on local military service personnel, especially the fallen. 

At the beginning of the Service, there was a massive march at 11.00am, much bigger than what we did at 4.30am, conducted by the Cadets, the event organisers and army veterans. 

I was lucky enough to be selected to carry one of the four country flags (UK) which also placed us at the lead of the march behind the old Willy jeeps who were carrying the elders who could not march. 

Other Cadets were selected to hold signs for different wars with different veterans who had participated forming in behind them. We had a role not just to march but to lead. The Super Hornet flew overhead during this which just added to the amazing atmosphere of what was happening. 

After the march, the four Flag Bearers formed a ‘Banner Party’ to march onto and behind the ANZAC memorial with the ‘Catafalque Party’ (Flags versus Rifles). We stood there for the remainder of the service, proudly representing the AAFC and the countries of Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States of America. 

ANZAC day is a day of commemoration and a say of service to the local community. It was awesome to be in a massive group who look out for each other and do things together yet we are a mix of kids for various backgrounds. 

Australian Air Force Cadets (AAFC) 

AAFC is a substantially fully funded branch of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) offering youth like me loads of opportunities; outdoor camping activities known as Bivouacs in military-only areas where we learn the ability to navigate and survive on seriously bare essentials, and even shoot rifles.  

And then there is the flying, both gliders and powered aircraft where some of us will be chosen at age 15 to join flight school whereby we will work towards securing our pilot’s licence.  

What’s my favourite past-time? Living on base at Amberley where for a week  you live like everyone else on base. Food in the canteen is good, free ice cream a treat. I also enjoyed last year representing 2-Wing Band (Queensland) in performing in Australian national virtual concerts activities.  

Cadets isn’t for everyone but what I get and give from it is respect and support for or from each other. Cadets is about team, there is no ‘I’ in what we stand for. All of us benefit from the collective work our leaders put in and the huge investment the ADF gives AAFC each year. I enjoy and benefit from my journey like I have already completed my Duke of Edinburgh Bronze medal. As for my end destination, that’s unknown but lessons learnt through my time in cadets will be invaluable including great memories. 

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