Meet the cadets

Each term, 321SQN will introduce one of our cadets, who will tell us something of their time and experiences as members of 321 Squadron AAFC. This term, we introduce Cadet Sergeant Max Burrell, who is currently the Training Officer - Operations at 321 Squadron.

1. Briefly, tell us something about yourself.

I am a Year 11 student studying at Callaghan College Jesmond Senior Campus. I am also studying Aeroskills at TAFE which is a course based around aircraft maintenance and creating a pathway into employment in the aviation industry. I am a motivated person who is working towards entering the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) upon the completion of my schooling. In my free time I work towards achieving my recreational pilot license and make advances to benefit my future career aspects.

2. Why did you join the AAFC?

I joined the AAFC hoping to gain an insight into life in the RAAF and the vast career choices and opportunities that are present within the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as a collective. I was intrigued by aviation and thought that cadet training would be a beneficial way of getting my foot in the door and further developing my skill set and passion.

3. What has been your best experience in the AAFC?

The AAFC has provided me with so many memories with such amazing people. As such I would never be able to pick one singular memory that excels, however I have several experiences that will stick with me forever.

- C130-J flight: As a cadet on general service training (GST) at RAAF Williamtown I was given the opportunity to fly in a C130-J plane along the coast. The flight tracked to Taree over the mainland and proceeded home at low level along the coast. The Loadmasters decided to open the back cargo ramp and harness a few cadets up and let us stand on the back of the aircraft ramp.

- Model Rocketry: During my time at cadets I have been on 3 annual model rocketry camps. These camps were held at RAAF Williamtown where we build up our skills on rocketry flight principals, construction techniques and safe handling of rocketry equipment. Once construction was completed and our rockets were painted we went to the Salt Ash Air Weapons Range (SAAWR) where we launched the rockets and recovered them for use again. Over the duration of the course you get a generous amount of launches and as always the atmosphere created by the fellow cadets was a memory I will cherish.

- An annual state wide Fieldcraft Exercise is held during the April School holidays where cadets from all of 3 Wing (NSW and ACT) come together for a week. I have attended the camp 3 times with each visit to Katoomba Airfield being unique. From the night activities being run to the daily hikes being run a fun time is guaranteed. The experience combines orienteering, bushcraft, camping, survival techniques and countless other bush related activities to develop your skill set.

4. What do you find to be most challenging in the AAFC?

The most challenging aspect of the AAFC would be keeping up with the constant development of character. You are always presented with challenging tasks varying in difficulty which develop you in really positive ways. During my time spent with the AAFC I have changed more than I would have ever though. I've set goals both big and small to achieve my overall goal to join in the RAAF and have been assisted and supported the whole time by cadets.

5. What do you hope to achieve in the AAFC?

As previously mentioned my overall goal both in and out of cadets is to join the RAAF, therefore what I aim to get out of cadets is an insight further than I had into possibilities and opportunities within the ADF. My goal since I joined cadets was to stay until I either aged out or had to leave due to recruitment into the RAAF, and reach the highest rank possible for cadets. I have since worked my way through the rank structure to the rank of Cadet Sergeant (CSGT) and hope to further climb the ranks.

6. What would you say to potential cadets?

If there was one thing I would say to people wishing to join cadets is that you can only gain from the opportunities presented. You tailor your experience to benefit you, meaning that if you wish to gain knowledge into the aviation aspect of cadets then you can base your activities and learning to suit this whilst if you are interested in another topic within cadets there are supports to develop your knowledge into the subject.

7. Do you think that your AAFC experience will assist with your career goals?

The AAFC has filled the missing gaps in my career choice. Since my enlistment I have initiated flight training, based schooling and cadets around having successful entry into RAAF and even enrolled into a Certificate II in Aeroskills which will lead me into aviation and maintenance of aircraft. None of this would have been clear to me on how beneficial these choices have been without the help of cadets. Simply visiting a RAAF base and having conversations and demonstrations on the day to day life of both Airmen/Airwomen and Officers within their day to day life as part of the ADF can assist in you deciding on your future.