The War Cabinet approved the Cadet Corps formation as part of the RAAF Reserve

01 Feb 1941

The War Cabinet approved the formation of the Cadet Corps as part of the RAAF Reserve on 1 February 1941. Commanded by GPCAPT W.A. Robertson, the Corps had six wings, with most of the instructors being unpaid volunteers who were ex-World War I pilots.

The two main aims of the Cadet Corps were firstly to train young men aged 16 - 18 to join the wartime RAAF, and secondly to encourage young men to increase their ‘air knowledge’ and interest in the RAAF. By 31 October 1943 there were 12,000 cadets in training. However, on 26 August 1975 the Minister for Defence announced the disbandment of the Army Cadet Corps and confirmed that the Air Force and Navy Cadet Corps would also be disbanded.

On 27 May 1976, the Minister for Administrative Services announced the reformation of the cadet movement, now known as the Air Training Corps (AIRTC). In May 1982, the Minister for Defence announced the inclusion of girls in the AIRTC.

As of January 1989, there were 6,800 members in the AIRTC, including 740 adults and 6,060 cadets.

In January 2000, the Directorate of Defence Force Cadets was formed from recommendations made in the Topley Review. Prior to 2001, there were eight separate organisations, each based on state political boundaries. These organisations were not part of the defence force, and there was no consistency in training, standards, and systems. In April 2005, a reorganisation took place and a national policy was implemented. As a result of these changes there are now three functional wings: Ground Training, Air Training, and Logistics Support with the parent organisation now renamed as the Australian Air Force Cadets (AAFC).

On 11 June 2016, the AIRTC celebrated its 75th anniversary with the presentation of the Governor General's Banner.

To learn more please visit History | Australian Air Force Cadets (AAFC)