Corporal Michael Gibson Royal Air Force Regiment

The College

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I attended the BTEC National Diploma in Public Services course at what was then Park Lane College in Horsforth between 2002 and 2004. My ultimate aim was always to join the RAF Regiment from the beginning having looked at it online. I would definitely class being on the course as 2 of the best years of my life. I had a fantastic time and met friends for life which I am still in regular contact with today.

During the course I learnt many things about all aspects of Public Services both military and civil services including the justice system, law and criminology and also diversity in the services among many other subjects. All of which gave me a much wider understanding of the services as a whole and how they all fit together in the ‘bigger picture’. There were also many visits and adventurous training activities as well including a week training with the Army in the lake district which was very good fun. Other visits included going to the Houses of Parliament in London, Strensall Army Barracks near York and local Fire Stations among many more. There were also many guest speakers that came to visit us at the college all of which gave a good taste of life within the public services.

On completion of the course I applied for Service with the Royal Air Force. The knowledge gained on the Public Services course very much helped me through my interview stages. After my application process I joined the RAF on the 17th Oct 2004 and I am still currently serving to this day.

My job title is an RAF Regiment Gunner. The RAF Regiment’s job is to provide force protection to deployed RAF assets. Put simply they would be classed as the RAF’s soldiers, trained the same as any Army infantry unit. We operate as squadrons of approximately 130 men and also have our own training units as well and are based all round the country. I would say I have had a very varied career in the RAF Regiment; I have met some of the greatest people I could ever wish to meet and had absolutely the time of my life. My service has seen me based all round the UK, including London, Scotland and currently the North East. I have also been fortunate enough to see other parts of the World as well. During this time I have been deployed on operations in both Iraq once and Afghanistan 4 times. Our role whilst on operations was to patrol the areas both on vehicle and on foot around Basra air station in Iraq and both Kandahar air field and Camp Bastion in Afghanistan to ensure freedom of movement of RAF aircraft by keeping enemy insurgents such as the Taliban out and stop them attacking the aircraft whilst they are vulnerable taking off and landing. Doing this has also led to us working with other members of coalition forces including Danish troops and also the United States Marine Corps. I have worked my way up through the ranks and I am now a Corporal and on my last tour in Afghanistan was in command of an 8 man section. It is a career that has offered different challenges and opportunities at all levels and ranks.

My job now involves me training and instructing members of the ‘Blue Air Force’ who aren’t members of the RAF Regiment but who still have very important jobs within the RAF. I train and instruct them in basic military and field craft skills such as weapon handling as part of their annual training.

The skills and experiences I have learnt both on the Public Services course and also in my military career have set me up for life and I would thoroughly recommend the course and a career in the military to anyone who is interested. Put simply if I had my time again I wouldn’t do anything different.