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Cadet Cor­po­ral (Belle) Lor­dan - Aus­tralian Army

Cadets As the Dubbo re­gion pre­pares to com­mem­o­rate Re­mem­brance Day this Sun­day, Novem­ber 11, here’s a young per­son’s view on what it’s like to be in­volved in one of Aus­tralia’s armed ser­vices.

I had wanted to join Cadets since I was in Year 7, how­ever I didn’t join un­til

I was in Year 10, when I was 16 years old. I joined be­cause I saw them march­ing on AN­ZAC Day one year. I thought it was so awe­some and I am pretty big for re­spect­ing the fallen.

We are 235 ACU, which is the Army Cadet Unit in Dubbo. We meet ev­ery Wed­nes­day night. You can join at about 12 or 13 years old, and then you fin­ish the year you turn 18. In any other af­ter-school ac­tiv­ity, the adults run it for you, whereas at Cadets we run it our­selves. It is very de­mand­ing, but also very re­ward­ing.

In Cadets we don’t do phys­i­cal train­ing, we do team games. It is all about lift­ing peo­ple up and mak­ing them more con­fi­dent in them­selves. Lead­er­ship is a big one. I have def­i­nitely de­vel­oped as a leader af­ter be­ing with Cadets for two years.

I got pro­moted just over a year af­ter I started. You start as a Re­cruit

and then you be­come a Cadet. Then you have Lance Cor­po­ral, which is your base rank, then you go up to Cor­po­ral, which I am cur­rently at now. In Jan­uary I will be pro­moted to Sergeant. I am go­ing away to train for a week at a Sergeant’s course in Sin­gle­ton. You do a series of tests and then at the end you get a pro­mo­tion.

As you go up the ranks, the level of re­spon­si­bil­ity gets higher. As Cadet Cor­po­ral, my job is to look af­ter the well­be­ing and make lessons for a sec­tion of ten peo­ple. I get or­ders from Sergeants, who tell me what lessons to teach them.

We go out camp­ing on bivouacs.

Ba­si­cally we just run around in the bush hav­ing heaps of fun and do­ing army style train­ing. It’s pretty awe­some. The best part of Cadets is how it has changed me as a per­son. I would say that it has shaped my iden­tity. I have be­come much more con­fi­dent and I have a lot more pride. I feel like I am in­vin­ci­ble – like I can do any­thing and achieve any­thing, there are no lim­its. Army Cadets has re­ally lifted me up, es­pe­cially go­ing through the ranks.

Last year at the awards evening

I got “Most Im­proved Cadet of the Year”. That was pretty mem­o­rable for me. We also went to Kapooka as a Cadet group, which is where you train to go into the army, and we got to do the ob­sta­cle course there.

Quite a few Cadets have just re­cently left and are now do­ing train­ing or have be­come mem­bers of the Aus­tralian De­fence Force. They have come back and talked to us.

I want to go into the Army as a Nurs­ing Of­fi­cer, that would be my ideal role. I am

also in­ter­ested in Paramedics or maybe a Gen­eral Of­fi­cer. I might go in through the gap year pro­gram and just have some fun for a year and then get se­ri­ous.

I fol­low the val­ues of the Army:

Re­spect, Team­work, Ini­tia­tive and Courage. From go­ing through Cadets with those val­ues, I use them in my ev­ery­day life now – I just fol­low them au­to­mat­i­cally. It’s a part of me.

It is im­por­tant to com­mem­o­rate the fallen as they are a ma­jor part of our Aus­tralian iden­tity. I feel that we re­ally need to do more than what we al­ready do. My­self and Jas­mine Ward, who is an­other cadet, will be run­ning a Re­mem­brance Day ser­vice at Dubbo Col­lege Se­nior Cam­pus to­mor­row (Fri­day, Novem­ber 9).

- Photo and in­ter­view by Darcee Nixon

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