Flight Lieutenant Ian Kent (RAFAC) – Commanding Officer
Flt Lt Kent is the Commanding Officer of the Squadron. This role is to essentially oversee every aspect of how the Squadron is run. Flt Lt Kent is also the Health and Safety Officer for the Wing, responsible not just for 1244 Swindon Squadron, but all of Dorset and Wiltshire as well.
Flt Lt Kent spent 4 years as an Air Cadet from 1978 to 1982 at 125 Cheltenham Squadron Detached Flight, which later became 537 Parklands Squadron. He rose to the rank of Flight Sergeant, and enjoyed Air Experience Flying. One such day trip took him all the way to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus on an RAF Transport Aircraft called a VC-10.
In 2006, after responding to a radio advert for Adult Staff, he joined 1244 as a Civilian Instructor. He gained his Commission, and became an Officer, quickly progressing through the roles of Training Officer, and Adjutant, before finally becoming Commanding Officer in July 2010.
In his private life, Flt Lt Kent is a Sales Manager for Survival Equipment Services Limited, based in Tetbury, Gloucestershire. The company specialise in maintaining Aircraft Escape systems such as ejection seats, parachutes, and life rafts.
Flight Lieutenant Andrew Taylor (RAFAC) – Squadron Adjutant
Flight Lieutenant Taylor currently holds the role of Adjutant on the Squadron, and has done since 2007. This involves coordinating the training program in order to deliver effective and enjoyable training to the cadets. Additional duties include overseeing the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme on the Squadron, and looking after all aspects of Adventure Training.
Flight Lieutenant Taylor has been involved with the Air Cadet Organization for almost 19 years in total. As a Cadet at 326 Hartland Squadron, in Devon and Somerset Wing, he rose through the ranks to Cadet Warrant Officer. During this time he achieved the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, and also gained his Silver Glider Wings, the youngest Cadet on his Squadron to do so. He then moved onto the Adult Staff and gained his commission as an Officer in 2005. He moved to Swindon in 2007, and transferred to 1244 Squadron a few months later, where he has remained ever since.
In his spare time, Flight Lieutenant Taylor is a Team Leader at Wiltshire Search and Rescue (WILSAR). WILSAR is a non government funded search and rescue organization that assists the police in looking for missing & vulnerable people in Wiltshire. He also volunteers with an organization called The Rowdy Bunch, which provides support and activities to disabled young people in Swindon between the ages of 13 to 25. It aims to help them build life skills and overcome many fears, in a comfortable environment.
Flight Sergeant (RAFAC) Jason Wood – Shooting Officer, Drill & Discipline, Field Craft
FS Wood currently holds the role of Shooting Officer on the squadron. He is responsible for ensuring all cadet range shooting is carried out in a safe and controlled environment. In order to do this, he carries out regular weapons handling tests, and liaises with the Commanding Officer around the training program for shooting activities. He is also fully qualified in transportation of all weapons and ammunition between the Squadron and shooting ranges.
In April 2006, FS Wood left the Royal Air Force after nearly 17 years of service. He joined 1244 Squadron in 2008 as a Civilian Instructor, and in July 2010 was promoted to Sergeant (ATC) and Flight Sergeant in 2015. Flt Sgt Wood introduced the activity of clay pigeon shooting to the squadron in the same year. He is a fully qualified safety officer after completing a course by the Clay Pigeon Shooting Authority (CPSA). As a non-commissioned officer, Flt Sgt Wood also helps maintain discipline on the squadron, instructs drill, and also teaches the cadets field craft skills.
In his private life, FS Wood is a site supervisor for G4S. The company are located in Eynsham Oxford, and they manufacture MRI scanners for the UK and around the world. He enjoys spending time with his family, and watching Formula 1 motor racing.
Flight Sergeant (RAFAC) Paul Davis – Drill & Discipline, Training
FS Davis has a number of roles at the Squadron. As a Squadron NCO (non-commissioned officer) he takes an active role in maintaining discipline, and teaches drill to the cadets. He also assists with the induction training.
FS Davis joined the squadron as a Cadet in 2006. He played bugle in the squadron band, and gained his Silver Gliding Wings, which culminated in a solo flight. In 2010, Flt Sgt Davis was selected from hundreds of cadets to be allowed the honour of marching down The Mall in London, to commemorate 150 years of cadet forces. After reaching the rank of Cadet Warrant Officer, he moved onto the Adult Staff in 2011, first as a Civilian Instructor. In 2012 he was promoted to Adult Sergeant (ATC), which he held for 4 years before the promotion to Adult Flight Sergeant in 2016.
Away from the squadron, enjoys photography and spending time with family and friends.
Flight Sergeant (RAF) Jay Howard – NCO Development, Leadership
FS Howard is currently the Squadron’s RAF Service Instructor. This is a role which many Air Cadet Squadrons utilise, and the individual’s responsibilities depend largely on the job the Service Instructor has within the services. Flt Sgt Howard’s main responsibilities at 1244 Squadron are NCO Development and Leadership.
FS Howard was an Air Cadet in Sussex Wing from 1999 to 2005 at both Worthing and Shoreham squadrons. During his time as a Cadet, he rose to the rank of Cadet Warrant Officer, as well as commanding a flight on the Royal Air Force Vocational Experience Program. He also completed the Community Sports Leader Award, Duke of Edinburgh’s Millennium Volunteer Award, and took part in numerous camps. In 2005, he joined the Royal Air Force as a Weapons System Operator, and since May 2007 has worked as Aircrew on the Hercules aircraft at RAF Lyneham, then RAF Brize Norton.
FS Howard joined 1244 Squadron in 2010. As well as his main responsibilities, he assists with Classroom Training, and acts as an essential link with our Squadrons parent station, RAF Brize Norton. In 2011, Flt Sgt Howard also started instructing on the Qualified Aerospace Instructors Course, a program which trains cadets across Dorset & Wiltshire, so they can achieve the “Qualified Aerospace Instructor” lanyard.
Sergeant (RAF) Nick Gilbert
Nick is new to the squadron, and has jumped straight in to teaching. Being an ex-cadet himself, he understands the roles and responsibilities of the organisation.
Nicks career out side of cadets is in Air frames,Mechanic,Technician.Nick is an ex-cadet and joined the 1244 because he wanted to help out the squadron. While he was a cadet his favourite activity was gliding.
Sergeant (RAFAC) Beth Cowley
Sgt Cowley transferred from 878 Squadron (Highworth) – she joined 1244 (Swindon) in early 2018 and originally joined the cadets in 2012 at 2003 Squadron (Stratton). Sgt Cowley worked her way up through the ranks to Cadet Warrant Officer over a period of 6.5 years before deciding to become an Adult NCO after “ageing out”.
Sgt Cowley’s role outside of cadets is in finance. Specifically she works at Catalent who manufacture pills.
Her hobbies in her spare time are being a Sergeant at 1244 cadets. She also enjoys motorbiking. The qualifications she has got within cadets are MOI (Method of Instruction), Youth First Aid and WHT (Weapon Handling Tests) as a cadet. One of her most memorable moments was at RAF Morham with the Tornados.
Padre Simon Stevenette
Simon is from Christ Church Swindon in the Old Town area of Swindon, and agreed to be our Padre in October 2018.
The Padre’s duties is to include participating in the passing out of cadets, and also welfare and spiritual requirements of the cadets.
Civilian Instructor Sarah-Jayne Wood – Training and Welfare
CI Wood currently holds the role of Training Officer. Her responsibilities include overseeing basic training and successive badge training as well as helping cadets to run projects. CI Wood has been a staff member on the Squadron since 2008. During the last five years, she has taken on many roles including Adjutant, Teaching and Stores Officer.
CI Wood was a Cadet at 1244 Squadron and although it was only for a short while, she took part in many activities such as two summer camps, fifteen official parades, and completed a Gliding Scholarship which resulted in a solo flight.
In her private life, CI Wood is currently studying for an PHD in Education at Cardiff University, after having completed an MSc in Criminology at UWE. She also volunteers for the Swindon Young Offenders Team, helping young people to recognise and achieve their potential. In her spare time, CI Wood also enjoys running, and has completed the Swindon Half Marathon several time, among others in Cardiff, Reading, Southampton, the Isle of Wight and more, as well as various ‘tough mudder’ type events.
Civilian Instructor John Wood
CI Wood originally joined the squadron as Honorary Treasurer in 2009 on the Civilian Committee before stepping down in 2012 to take a more active role on the Squadron. Mainly teaching a variety of aerospace subjects to cadets, he also manages the squadron’s IT requirements, as well as aiding the cadets in maintaining the website. He maintains the IT suite at MOD Boscombe Down for the Qualified Aerospace Instructors Course.
CI Wood is an ex-cadet who left neighbouring 878 Highworth Squadron in 1999, where he attained the old Staff Cadet classification (yellow lanyard) and the rank of Corporal.
In his day job, he is a software developer and general IT “dogs body”, and in his spare time he tinkers with all manner of electronics, has many computers (from his ancient Sinclair QL, to more modern SBCs like the Raspberry Pi, the Chip, Onion Omega) and loves sci-fi films