Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Training) Branch

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Training) Branch

The Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Training Branch), often abbreviated to RAFVR(T) is a voluntary element of the British Royal Air Force specifically appointed in a training role within the RAFVR. Members of the RAFVR(T) have no call-up liability and often operate part time on Air Experience Flights, Volunteer Gliding Squadrons, or more commonly in the local structure of the Air Cadet Organisation - either the RAF Sections of the Combined Cadet Force (CCF), or the Air Training Corps (ATC).

Recruitment and selection

Many RAFVR(T) Officers have previous military experience, commissioned, or other ranks service, and many have professional and educational qualifications, but unlike the requirements for joining the regular armed forces, applicants for RAFVR(T) positions are not required to have formal educational or other qualifications. It is also not uncommon to find RAFVR(T) staff hold commissions in the RAuxAF, RAFRO, or other services also. Many of the Pilots who man the AEF Flights are often retired regular service aircrew, some even at Air Commodore rank serving as supernumary Flying Officers RAFVR(T); adding much to the wealth and professional experience of the RAFVR(T)

Unlike the formal O&ASC process for regular service, selection is based upon considerable relevant experience, followed by a number of interviews, then culminating in a Board chaired by a retired senior RAF officer. Depending on the appointment being sought, this is usually a Group Captain serving in the RAFR in the capacity of ATC Regional Commandant or Staff Officers from HQ Air Cadets. Since October 2007, all candidates that pass the interview Board are commissioned as Officer Cadets until successful completion of the Officers' Initial Course (OIC) at RAF Cranwell.

As an Officer Cadet RAFVR(T), they wear a completely white rank slide, accompanied by standard officers' headdress (unlike other RAF Officer Cadets) until successful completion of their OIC. The newly appointed Pilot Officer RAFVR(T) will then receive their Rank Slide. Since RAFVR(T) officers will generally be responsible for running either a CCF(RAF) section or an Air Training Corps squadron/detached flight, successful applicants are required to demonstrate qualities of commitment, motivation, extensive knowledge of the RAF and military/civil aviation, all underpinned by a willingness and aptitude to work with young people in an instructional environment. Many have educational or youth work experience and qualifications in specialist areas of outward bound youth work.

Candidates for commissions in CCF(RAF) sections are initially selected by the head teacher, although HQAC (Headquarters Air Cadets) has the right to impose a veto. Other members of the RAFVR(T) serve as flying instructors on the Volunteer Gliding Squadrons or as pilots on Air Experience Flights - the latter are often former military pilots who have left the regular service and are commissioned into the RAFVR(T) on appointment to the AEF.

Uniform

RAFVR(T) members wear the same uniform worn by regular Royal Air Force or active reserve Royal Auxiliary Air Force commissioned Officers, with the exception that gilt "VRT" insignia is worn on the lapels of formal dress uniforms and on top of the rank braid on the epaulettes and tabs of working dress uniforms.

Training

All RAFVR(T) officers are required to attend and pass the Officers' Initial Course (OIC) held at the Adult Training Facility, a lodger unit at RAFC Cranwell in Lincolnshire, usually within the first 12 months of their appointment. This week-long course covers the basic roles and responsibilities of an RAFVR(T) Officer. Those successfully completing the course are awarded their commissioning parchment and are confirmed as a commissioned officer (although under the current system, all VR(T) Officers are commissioned from the day that they pass thier interview, and the commissioning sroll is dated to that day) and are treated similarly to regular Officers.RAFVR(T) officers, involved in CCF or ATC Units, may undertake extra training before becoming appointed as an Officer Commanding of their Unit. Although this training is not compulsory for Officers associated to the CCF. Some also take specialist training for certain activities: physical training (PT) or shooting for example.

Although the Air Cadet Organisation has officers with ranks above that of Wing Commander, these ranks are held by members of the RAFR or Regular RAF. The RAFVR(T) currently consists only of commissioned officers. All RAFVR(T) Officers hold a maximum substantive rank of Flying Officer, all other RAFVR(T) ranks above that of Flying Officer are acting (either paid or unpaid) ranks.

References


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