AUSTRALIAN Air Force Cadets serving under Mount Gambier’s 612 Squadron continue to progress their service despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 restrictions.
The squadron’s traditional Anzac Day commemorations were impacted by social-distancing requirements over the weekend as the nation marked the occasion in unique fashion.
It was just another change for cadets to adapt to, which has included video meetings, virtual parade nights and at-home activities.
Australian Air Force Cadets 612 squadron commanding officer flight lieutenant Geoff Yates said cadets had successfully continued their squadron interactions, including standing at their own driveways last Saturday for Anzac Day.
“Obviously Anzac Day is a huge Australian and military tradition and as members of the defence force cadets it is important to keep those traditions and take part in that kind of lifestyle,” Flt Lt Yates said.
Cadets normally take part in the annual Anzac Day march down Commercial Street and also attend the dawn service, but Flt Lt Yates said cadets were able to pay their respects in a different way.
This included sending letters to veterans thanking them for their service.
“The letters were received by our veterans over the weekend and when I discussed the idea with the Mount Gambier Returned Service League president Bob Sandow he was very excited at the idea,” he said.
“It was just another thing we could do to be involved in our community and take care of those who served before us.”
Due to COVID-19 restrictions the cadets are temporarily on operational pause with the weekly Friday night parades ceasing until further notice.
“The cadets have missed the social aspects of our regular activities but we have conducted two virtual parade nights so far with a lot of success,” Flt Lt Yates said.
“We do this through video call and the cadets have responded very well to the change and are quite happy to do it as they still get that social contact they have missed out on.
“There have also been activities such as quizzes and other social interactions during those nights to keep the meetings light-hearted and interesting.”
Mr Yates said cadets have taken on the challenge to alter their lifestyle with the situation helping to form communication and leadership skills.
“It is a big thing for them to miss out on but there are still things happening in the background and it is good for those involved because they are not left in the dark,” he said.
“When the operational pause ends we are excited to get back to normal and include new members if they are interested.”
Among the tasks currently being carried out by cadets includes building an aircraft model using resources found at home, and producing a variety of Lego and Airfix plastic kit models and paper planes.