The Combined Cadet Force (CCF) is a Ministry of Defence sponsored youth organisation in the United Kingdom. Its aim is to "provide a disciplined organisation in a school so that pupils may develop powers of leadership by means of training to promote the qualities of responsibility, self reliance, resourcefulness, endurance and perseverance". It is not a pre-service organisation, although it acknowledges that one of its objectives is "to encourage those who have an interest in the services to become Officers of the Regular or Reserve Forces", and a significant number of officers have indeed had experience in the CCF.
The CCF was created on 1 April 1948 by the amalgamation of the Junior Training Corps (formerly the Junior Division of the Officers Training Corps) and the school contingents of the Sea Cadet Corps and Air Training Corps. CCFs are still occasionally referred to as "The Corps". The CCF is separate from the Sea Cadet Corps, Army Cadet Force, and Air Training Corps. Pupils normally join at the age of 13 or 14, with both sexes able to take part.
CCF Ranks depend on which part of the CCF is reffered to. The table below shows the ranks used an their relative positions.
|Army and Royal Marines||RAF||RN|
|Cadet Under Officer||Cadet Under Officer|
|Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major||Cadet Warrant Officer||Cadet Coxswain|
|Cadet Company Sergeant Major||Cadet Boatswain|
|Cadet Staff/Colour Sergeant||Cadet Flight Sergeant||Cadet Chief Petty Officer|
|Cadet Sergeant||Cadet Sergeant||Cadet Petty Officer|
|Cadet Corporal||Cadet Corporal||Cadet Leading Rate/Leading Hand|
|Cadet Lance Corporal||Cadet Lance Corporal||Cadet Able Seaman|
|Cadet/Marine Cadet/Ordinary Cadet/Able Cadet||Cadet||Cadet|
The Royal Navy Section wear a distinct CCF Cap Badge. The two regulation uniforms for RN cadets are No. 4 working dress and No. 3 parade dress. These are differentiated from regular RN uniform by the wearing of brassards, which show rate, qualification and skills, and the 'CCF RN' rank slide. They may be issued with combat uniform if required and some schools have No 1 uniform for senior cadets.
Royal Marines Section
Royal Marines sections wear the bronzed Royal Marines badge with a red "tombstone" backing on a blue beret with DPM (camouflage) trousers, combat jackets, and shirts (CS95) along with boots much the same as the army section.
The Army Sections wear the cap badge of their associated regiment or corps, or their school cap badge usually with the Personal Clothing System Multi Terain Patterned (PCS- MTP) combat uniform, although some contingents still have Combat Soldier 95 Pattern (CS95) uniform. Ranks are shown on combats with a rank slide marked 'Cadet'. When the CS95 uniform was introduced, some contingents still have 'lightweight' OG (olive green) uniform or older pattern combat uniform. Ranks were shown with qualifications on a brassard or on rank slides marked with 'CCF' on combats.
RAF cadets wear the RAF cap badge with No.2 dress, either with dark blue shirt (2c) or 'Wedgwood' (2, 2a, 2b). They are distinguished from regular personnel by their brassards. They may be issued with combat uniform if required- either PCS-MTP or CS95.
Unlike in other cadet organisations (ATC/SCC/ACF), most adult volunteers are officers, the exception often being the school staff instructor (see below). CCF officers are often teachers from the school, and are not normally eligible to be called up. They hold acting officer ranks up to and including lieutenant colonel (the highest substantive rank is that of lieutenant) or its equivalent in the other services.
CCF(Army) and CCF(RAF) Officers are in special categories of the reserves of their service. CCF(RN) Officers are 'appointed' and do not hold commissions, albeit their ranks are the same as for RN (and RNR) officers with the suffix RNR(CCF), their rank braid is 'wavy', the same form as used in the past by the RNVR. CCF(Army) officers hold commissions in TA Group 'B' (the same group as UOTC Officer Cadets), and wear a CCF marking on their rank slides. Unlike officers in the Army Cadet Force CCF(Army) officers do not attend the Army Officer Selection Board and are selected based on recommendation from the Headmaster of the employing school. CCF(RAF) officers' commissions are Volunteer Reserve (Training Branch) (RAF VR(T)), and they wear a VRT pin on their rank braid to signify this.
In the main supporting role to the officers is the school staff instructor (SSI), who is usually an ex-forces SNCO or Warrant Officer. They retain their rank as a courtesy and are employed by the school to instruct and assist in the running of the Contingent. Whilst the majority of the SSIs are SNCOs it is also possible for them to be a commissioned officer. There is usually one SSI per Contingent and they are supported by serving regular Non-Commissioned Officers from Cadet Training Teams (CTT).
Some contingents may have one or more Civilian Instructors. These are Adult Volunteers who normally instruct in a specialised role (first aid, signals etc.) when the establishment level of officers does not include persons with sufficient knowledge to teach these subjects. They receive no pay for time spent with cadets but may claim reimbursement for expenses at the Contingent Commander's discretion. Many are members of the academic or support staff at the school.
The different sections naturally have different syllabi with a degree of overlap. All the sections learn drill and all cadets are trained to fire the L98A2 5.56 mm Cadet General Purpose rifle, a semi-automatic only version of the L85A2 used by the UK armed forces. There are also opportunities to fire the .22 No.8 rifle and the L81 Cadet Target Rifle.
Cadets in the Royal Navy section receive instruction in boat-work and other naval subjects (including flying with the Fleet Air Arm). The Royal Navy also offers many CCF courses during the school holidays which are open to any members of any CCF. The Royal Marines section, although a part of the Navy, tend to train independently, covering battle drills, weapons handling and marksmanship, fieldcraft, camouflage and concealment and the history of the Royal Marines.
Army section cadets are sometimes able to specialise in subjects such as signalling, REME skills and infantry tactics, and are trained accordingly. 2006 Health and Safety/Child Protection legislation (and fallout from the Deepcut affair) mandated that cadets must be housed separately by both gender and age (under 18s and over 18s), and as most MOD accommodation cannot cope with this leading to a reduction in the number of courses offered to cadets.
RAF section cadets are given the opportunity to fly in both powered aircraft, most notably the Grob Tutor T1 and Vigilant T1 and in unpowered gliders such as the Viking TX.1 and their training and flying courses are identical to those available to members of the Air Training Corps.
All sections can undertake leadership courses at Frimley Park, Nesscliff or RAF Cranwell, as well as adventurous training. There are also other courses available for cadets to enhance their skills, such as Junior and Senior Cadet Instructor Courses (JCIC, SCIC).