National Volunteers’ Week – Meet The Staff!

Yesterday you heard from Rev. Daniel Cooke our squadron Chaplain. We learned he doesn’t like foreign languages and the meaning of his middle name, Benedict, is blessed.

Today we will hear from Sergeant Peter McCarry RAFAC. He is a long standing member of the Air Training Corps and also is the only staff member to have previously served in the armed forces. You can always find Sergeant McCarry with a brew and by listening out for his loud Scottish accent, which we are all slowly but surely adjusting to.

Over to you Sergeant McCarry.

Sgt McCarry receiving his certificate of appointment from Flt Lt Fowler.

Q) What is your job in real life?

A) Ambulance Technician with East Midlands Ambulance Service

Q) How long have you been in the RAFAC

A) this may seem a little complicated but…..
I did 4 1/2 years as an Air Cadet with 288 (5th Edinburgh) Sqn from 1983 – 1987 and left as a Cadet Corporal at the age of 16 1/2 to join the RAF, originally as an Assistant Air Traffic Controller but retraded to Aerial Erector with the intention of becoming a Civilian Instructor (CI) or Uniformed member of staff after completing my basic and Trade training, however due to work demands I found that I could not commit enough time to the ATC.
It was not until 2016 that I found enough time to be able to commit to a role as a CI and approached 1082 (Brimington & District) Sqn where I was invited to become a member of staff, I applied for Uniformed Staff in 2017 and after passing my interview with Trent Wing Commander – Wing Commander Wright , Wing ExO – Sqn Ldr Divver and WingWo Warrant Officer Stewart I was formally invited to become an Adult Sgt and so have enjoyed, albeit with a 30 year gap, 8 years involved with the RAFAC

Q) What is your job in the RAFAC

A) My main job is to instruct cadets in the ethos and expectations of the RAF and RAFAC but I am primarily responsible for instructing cadets through their Comms Training structure as well as assisting in 1st Aid training and when time and cadet willingness permits, Aircraft Recognition and Aero modelling

Q) what extra curricular activities did you do as a teenager other than cadets

A) I was, and still am an Aviation enthusiast ( aka Aircraft Spotter/ photographer) as well as Aero Modelling – plastic kits as well as balsa wood kits for RC and RTP, more interested in military than civilian aircraft and utilised my enjoyment of cycling to visit local and some not so local airfields around Scotland and was lucky that my Uncle was a Chief Technician in the RAF and enjoyed various holidays spent in Lincolnshire, sometimes being allowed to visit the Vulcan Sqns at RAF Waddington with him by kind permission of his CO…. not bad considering this was during the Cold War.
I was also interested in Martial Art teaching youth Brown belt in Shotokan Karate

Sgt McCarry (left) teaching cadet basic radio communications

Q) Why do you volunteer in the RAFAC

A) my initial reason for volunteering is to give back to the RAFAC what they gave me and in turn, hopefully, encourage young cadets to enjoy the activities that might otherwise not be available to them.
This in turn helps cadets to ‘come out of their shell’s and gain experiences that will build their self esteem, encourage their curiosity and understanding of fundamental life challenges and give them a helping hand in dealing with these challenges whilst also encouraging them to lead and help others

Q) do you have any other interests outside of the RAFAC

A) as stated earlier, I am still an avid Aviation enthusiast, especially having the grace of being within travel distance of RAF Waddington, RAF Coningsby and RAF Cranwell and at a push RAF Donna Nook which allows me to also develop my photography skills, I prefer Aero/ Auto photography as well as Nature/ Landscape

I am still interested in Martial arts, having now tried Karate, Kickboxing, Mixed Martial Arts and now looking at Taekwondo mostly for maintaining fitness

I also, though I never thought I would, find myself becoming more interested and involved in developing my gardening skills

Q) what is your favourite camp/ cadet activity you have been on

A) I’m not sure if some of these activities are still part of RAFAC camp activities but….

  1. Security exercises, where cadets act as saboteurs and have to access areas of the camp without being caught and ‘Zap’ set targets with a sticker to denote a successful attack, i.e ‘zapping’ a Vulcan bomber on an aircraft pan
  2. Outdoor activities such as hill walking in the Highlands with just what you are carrying – you have your backpack, tent, food, map and compass and have to navigate over a weekend from point to point.
    This is my most memorable as we crossed from Rannoch railway station. To Fort William during a rather unexpected blizzard!

Q) How has life changed since COVID 19

A) it hasn’t changed much for me…..
I still go to work but now wear more PPE,
It does take longer to do any shopping and I do miss the interaction with cadets and staff but other than that not a lot of change

Q) What was your favourite subject at school

A) by far my most favourite was what is now known as design andTech…..
Woodwork, Metalwork and Technical Drawing when I were a lad

Q) What was your least favourite subject at school

A) RE…. different times, not great feelings between religions when I was at school,
enough said

Q) What song will always get you on the dance floor at an end of camp disco

A) I would never inflict that on anyone but my favourite song would have to be ‘500 miles’

Q) Name one useless fact about yourself

A) I can splice rope

SGT McCarry trying time play the bagpipes.

Look back here everyday to see what the rest of the staff team have to say.

Take Care and Stay Safe!