June 22nd 2015

Adult volunteer: “I pretty much live my life in a blue suit”

As military personnel around the country gear-up to celebrate Armed Forces Day, one adult volunteer and regular RAF pilot from Lincolnshire has taken time out to reflect on his career highlights to date.

Flight Lieutenant Phil Clements, aged 30, currently volunteers with 1260 (Newark and District) Squadron Air Training Corps (ATC) while serving full-time as a pilot in the RAF, and will this year represent RAF Waddington in Lincoln’s Armed Forces Day celebrations on Saturday 27 June.

Phil, who volunteers with the ATC two nights per week, will join Regular and Reserve members of the Army and Royal Navy, as well as members of the Cadet Forces in Lincoln’s City Square and High Street, to tell the public about life in the Armed Forces.

Volunteering as a Service Instructor, Phil explained that being in the ATC is more than just a hobby as it parallels his RAF career.

He said: “I pretty much live my life in a blue suit! I first got involved with the ATC as a Cadet at Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire Wing after my Dad suggested that I join. Once I realised that I could go flying, shooting and camping I decided that this was the path for me. The experience has certainly lived up to my expectations.”

Phil, who met his partner while they were both Cadets, explained that the cross-overs between his RAF career and volunteering have only added to his enjoyment.

He said: “It is a good feeling to be able to inspire a new generation of young people. By joining the Cadets you can gain nationally recognised qualifications such as BTEC, Duke of Edinburgh and St John’s Ambulance Awards. Combine this with the life experience of being in a leadership role and being responsible for others in your mid-teens, and there is simply no other feeling like it! Being able to experience this as a both a Cadet and adult volunteer, I feel that I have had the best of both worlds.

“Serving in the RAF means I have been able to travel abroad, experience new things and meet lots of new people. I marched for Armed Forces Day in 2010 when I was stationed at RAF Kinloss in Scotland, so it is great that I am able to join my colleagues in Lincoln this year to raise awareness about the Armed Forces locally.”

Phil explained that volunteering has also given him and his partner a common interest.

“Having met through the Air Training Corps, the military environment has always been a part of our lives. Volunteering together is great because it means we can spend more time together and take part in activities that we would not have otherwise had the chance to experience.

“If one of us wants a weekend away to take the Cadets to an activity, the other can come too or have the weekend to themselves! I have often managed to sneak another day flying in while she’s been away!”

“As a Cadet Force Adult Volunteer (CFAV) you can be reimbursed for up to 28 days per year with a volunteer allowance for supporting Cadet activities. This could be anything from a day of drill or flying with the Air Experience Flight (AEF) or even adventure training in the Highlands of Scotland.

“A personal highlight of mine has been taking 14 local Cadets to 45 Squadron at RAF Cranwell to fly in their aircraft. As a qualified King Air pilot, I was able to operate the simulator for them and assist in getting them ready for their flight.”

Phil is part of the Station Armed Forces Day Committee, which will be bringing Waddington’s RAF community into Lincoln to share what they have done over past years.

A variety of personnel from RAF Waddington will be present at Armed Forces Day and will be available to answer any questions the public may have about joining both the Regular and Reserve Forces.

To find out more about becoming a Cadet or an adult volunteer in the Air Training Corps, visit:

"Once I realised that I could go flying, shooting and camping I decided that this was the path for me. The experience has certainly lived up to my expectations.”