First female officers qualify for RAF Regiment
- Credit: UK Ministry of Defence 2020
The first female officers in the history of the RAF Regiment have passed out from their course in a ceremony at RAF Honington.
Flying Officers Emma Graves and Juliette Abson successfully completed the 25-week course and will now be posted to one of the RAF Regiment’s Field Squadrons.
They will be the first women to command members of the RAF Regiment in its 78 year history.
Women were previously banned from serving with it as it is classed as a combat unit but this bar was lifted in 2017.
The first female soldier to join the regiment was Leading Aircraftman Georgia Sandover, who passed out in January this year.
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Flying Officer Graves, aged 22, from Verwood, Dorset, joined the RAF after time as an Air Cadet.
She said: “One of the biggest things I did, as a cadet, that led me to wanting to join the RAF Regiment was the Air Cadet Junior Leaders Course.
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“It not only taught me about leadership, fieldcraft and military skills but it also gave me the confidence in myself that I could achieve more than I thought I could.”
She said the Junior Regiment Officers’ Course had been “tough, but thanks to the experience of the instructors and the great camaraderie of fellow course mates, it had on the whole been an enjoyable course”.
Flying Officer Abson, aged 26, from Hereford, is from a military family and had this advice for women looking to join the RAF Regiment: “I would recommend they explore their interest and get on as many visit days or speak to as many people as possible.
“If it is what you want, go for it and don’t let anyone’s opinions hold you back.”
FOs Abson and Graves were two of 13 junior officers to complete the Junior Regiment Officers’ Course and pass out from Honington - the home of the RAF Regiment - on Saturday August 8.
Reviewing Officer Air Commodore Scott Miller said: “The Junior RAF Regiment Officers’ Course is exceptionally challenging and its standards are unremitting.
“Those graduating today, including our first female officers, have demonstrated exceptional skill, fortitude and resilience, and I am proud to welcome them into our Corps.
“They have earned their right to wear the RAF Regiment ‘mudguard’ and to join our frontline. Here they will lead RAF Regiment gunners, exceptional men and women, on a vitally important mission to enable the RAF and its Air & Space Power in the face of adversity and threats. Demanding but hugely varied and rewarding careers await them.”