CAMOFLAUGE TRAINING: (l to r) CdtWO2 Bailey Catlin, CdtCpl Liam Harrison, CdtRec Jayden White, CdtRec Joel Campbell, Cdt Kyle Dorsett, CdtRec Bernadette Catubig, CdtCpl Alexis Kajewski, CdtRec Riley Offord and CdtSgt Maxie Mamaril.
CAMOFLAUGE TRAINING: (l to r) CdtWO2 Bailey Catlin, CdtCpl Liam Harrison, CdtRec Jayden White, CdtRec Joel Campbell, Cdt Kyle Dorsett, CdtRec Bernadette Catubig, CdtCpl Alexis Kajewski, CdtRec Riley Offord and CdtSgt Maxie Mamaril. Jann Houley

Young cadet's great uncles flew over Germany in WW II

The military life is a family tradition for the Bailey Catlin whose great-uncles flew over Germany in World War II.

Now in his fourth year of Army cadets, the Year 11 student from Rockhampton High School has completed his third tier training and been promoted to Cadet Warrant Officer with Rockhampton's 125 unit.

His "ultimate goal" is to become a General Service Officer and work as a doctor in the military.

"A highlight of my years in cadets has been the camaraderie and mateship," he said during the unit's first bivouac on base for 2019.

 

Cadet Caige Dahler and Lt(AAC) Gary Ashton checking webbing for fit and correctness
Cadet Caige Dahler and Lt(AAC) Gary Ashton checking webbing for fit and correctness. Jann Houley

"The most rewarding challenge was completing a 10km navigation exercise with weapons; I'm really proud I got through that."

Second lieutenant Sam Ware has been working as a training officer with the 125 unit and also the 132 Yeppoon unit for 18 months.

"This first bivouac we're focussed on welcoming about 20 new recruits and giving them an induction into what they'll be learning in the future," she said.

During their first year, new cadets will have three opportunities to attend 'bush bivs' off base, in addition to their weekly drills on Mondays from 5-8pm.

"We'll start at Seeonee Park campsite doing some section work with navigation and first aid skills and finish the year near down by Nankin Creek doing some platoon work," she said.

"It gives the cadets experience with different terrains and builds them up to living away from headquarters, using radios for communication."

Lt Ware said a recent overhaul of the cadet curriculum was paying off in opportunities for senior officers to mentor and support younger recruits.

 

Cadet Recruit Bernadette Catubig at the unit's first on-base bivouac
Cadet Recruit Bernadette Catubig at the unit's first on-base bivouac. Jann Houley

"The new training standards allow for cadets who've completed Level Three to come back and demonstrate practical teaching skills," she said.

"It was our two Cadet Warrant Officers' initiative that every cadet above second year will step up and deliver a lesson this year."

Lieutenant Ware said that a broader approach to training is paying dividends for recruits who may have difficulty with traditional learning.

"The cadets were adamant that this year would be about inclusivity so they're looking at how to train cadets who have autism, dyslexia or auditory problems," she said.

"It allows for more people to be part of a group, using their verbal skills or imagination, problem-solving how the sections can learn together.

"In that way, cadets is as much a youth development program as it is about the military."

Located on an active base, the unit also has opportunities to meet with military officers travelling through and to gets some hands-on experience with equipment.

 

Second Lieutenant Sam Ware
Second Lieutenant Sam Ware. Jann Houley

Platoon Sergeant Maxie Mamaril, who is in Year 11 at Glenmore High School, believes the opportunity to teach delivers positive outcomes outside of the cadet corps.

"It's changed my learning at school and in everyday life, learning different to help people learn," he said.

"It doesn't always have to be the same, it can be creative."

In addition to their weekly drives and of-base bivouacs, cadets are encouraged to engage with the local community.

On ANZAC Day, cadets from the 125 unit leave Rockhampton as early as 3am and return after dark in order to take part in marches as far away as the Caves, Westwood and Marmor.

And they host a 'Christmas in July' event at which cadets serve dinner to members of the local RSL clubs.

Lieutenant Ware said the unit keeps costs at a minimum, with uniforms on loan and no weekly fees.

"There's a $60 joining fee up front and camps generally costs $30 to cover costs of food and camping," she said.

"What they receive in return is the inspiration to take control of their life and to do something different with it."

125 Army Cadet Unit Rockhampton

Location: 31/42 HQ Western St, Rockhampton.

Parading: Monday 4.45pm- 8pm.

Email: 125ACU@armycadets.gov.au