Interview with 1414 Squadron Officer Commanding Warrant Officer Mark Hobbs
What made you become an air cadet?
At the time I wanted to join the RAF and I thought it would be a good way to gain useful experience that would help me in my chosen career. When the time came I found out that I had a colour defect that prevented me from becoming an RAF police officer and there were no openings in other trades within the RAF at that time.
Instead I joined the Army and my cadet experiences gave me more confidence than many of the other recruits who joined with me.
Sadly I was invalided out before I could complete my training but found that my time as a cadet had given the determination and courage to overcome my disappointment and forge a new path for myself.
What was the most exciting activity/event you ever got to take part in when you were a cadet?
The most exciting event was the first annual camp I ever did at RAF Wattisham. It was the first time I had been away from home and the experiences we had on that camp we would never have got anywhere else.
We visited a US Airforce base, flew in a Husky with Cambridge University Air Squadron (my first powered flight) and used a proper flight simulator- a £6000000 Phantom flight simulator as the Phantom was based at RAF Wattisham.
You are now a Warrant Officer in charge of your old Sqn, what made you want to rejoin the Corps as a member of staff ?
I never forgot the dedication and support I received from the staff at 1414 and within Sussex Wing during my time as a cadet so when I was offered the chance to rejoin the Sqn as a CI in 1999 I jumped at the opportunity to offer other young people the same opportunities that I had been given.
After relocating up North and being away from the Corps for a few years I returned in 2005 and since taking over the running of the Sqn in 2013 I have dedicated myself to providing as many new and exciting opportunities for cadets as I can.
What were your favourite and least favourite things when you were a cadet?
My favourite activities were shooting and fieldcraft and as a member of staff I was fortunate enough to spend four years as the Fieldcraft Officer for Sussex Wing, sharing my love of fieldcraft with hundreds of cadets over that time.
My least favourite activity was drill although now I am immensely proud of the drill capabilities of the cadets at the squadron.
Can you give one piece of advice to a twelve or thirteen year old who is considering joining the squadron now?
Take advantage of every opportunity that is offered to you. If you give 100% to the squadron or to the Corps I truly believe that you will receive back many times what you put in.
1414 Squadron is the best team that you could ever wish to be a part of.