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 Leading Cadet Hayleigh Shaw, who is currently in the Proficiency Stage of training at 321SQN.

1. Briefly, tell us something about yourself.

My name is Hayleigh, I'm 14 years old, and a Year 9 student at Lambton High School. In my spare time I enjoy water skiing in summer, and I really like animals. When I leave school, I hope to join the Australian Defence Force, either in security with the RAAF, or as a marine technician with the RAN.

2. Why did you join the AAFC?

I joined the AAFC because my mother suggested that it would be fun for me. And as I've said, I'm interested in a career in defence.

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

Before moving to Newcastle, I lived in Tamworth, and was a cadet at 310 Squadron. When I was there, I went gliding as a squadron activity. I was really scared at first, but then I really started to enjoy flying in silence, with no engine noise. It was great when I was able to take control and fly the glider myself.

And as well as flying, I have made some great friends through the AAFC.

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

I recently took part in a survival exercise during a squadron FIELDEX. We were given food by the staff only after we had shown that we could make traps and snares. I was so hungry! But it felt really great to complete the task, and the lunch after the exercise finished tasted so good.

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

I hope to soon be selected to attend a promotion course, so that I can become a corporal. After some experience in that rank, I'd like to try to achieve promotion to even higher ranks.

6. What would you say to potential cadets?

Just give everything a go. And remember that we all started off in the AAFC not knowing anything. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and if you don’t know something, just ask.

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

Given that I want to join the ADF, I think that being a cadet will help me to achieve my goals after I leave school. I have really enjoyed the fieldcraft and survival, and I think that the skills I have learnt have developed my self-discipline, which in turn has helped me at school. The cadet experience has really moderated my behaviours, which I think will help me achieve my career goals