A group of young cadets took off on a C-130H Hercules to join more than 1000 other cadets celebrating the 150th anniversary of the New Zealand Cadet Forces.
About 70 cadets from Kaikoura, Nelson, Motueka, Westport, Greymouth and Marlborough left from Base Woodbourne in Blenheim on Friday.
They were heading to a national exercise at Waiouru Military Camp in central North Island, where about 1200 Air Training Corps cadets and their officers will take part in a week-long jamboree-style celebration. Cadets from New Zealand, Canada and Australia will hone their skills in flying, tramping, sailing, shooting and medical evacuation scenarios.
No 27 squadron unit commander Jeremy Lamb said the camp was a once in a lifetime opportunity for many of the cadets, and himself.
About 30 cadets in Blenheim aged between 13 and 18 volunteered to be involved in the youth organisation.
Kaikoura cadet Christopher Elson 15, came to Blenheim every Tuesday after school to take part in the No 27 squadron parade. He joined the cadets in 2012 and was excited about the activities planned at Waiouru.
"The whole physical side of it should be good," he said.
"Plus meeting all the other cadets from the other units around the country."
Jacob Adams, 16, of Blenheim, became a cadet in 2011 because he eventually wanted to join the air force. He was looking forward to abseiling at Waiouru, he said.
Commandant of the New Zealand Cadet Forces Commander Glen Stoke said the exercise will be a tribute to the cadets in the past 150 years as well as demonstrating opportunities for those who wish to join.
About 3000 young people in 100 units across the country were involved in a cadet programme.
- Kaikoura Star
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