RAFairman's Blog

An RAF Airman's Blog

To kill for…

Last night I commented on Twitter that I really dislike the “Go Compare” insurance adverts with a comment that I could actually kill the person who dreamt it up – and I am not normally like that.”

Now this was a silly thing to say – of course I wouldn’t do such a thing – it was just a joke and the advertising exec who came up with the campaign has won, because even though it’s a terrible and annoying advert, who’s name is the first on your lips when thinking of car insurance? Yeah…Go Compare…

But I digress.

Of the several comments that Tweet got a couple were along the lines of “you are in the armed forces – I thought that you were trained to kill?”

Hmmmmmm. Indeed.

This IS a good point. I am trained to kill.


Each year we all have to go and undertake our Common Core Skills training – how to handle a rifle and so on, and I have done courses in the past about military skills in the field and so forth.

And every year or so we will all do a Guard Duty where we will be armed with a rifle and will go and stand on the gate to guard the station. (That said now I am a “grown up” I will be supervising the guards, and not actually standing out in the cold – but I’d be there in spirit!) As part of the training, you would undergo qualifying shoots to ensure you are prepared to handle a rifle safely.

But normally you never really think you are going to have to actually use it.

And I think that is the big difference between myself (and a LOT of other RAF personnel) and say, the Army.

They are soldiers first and foremost. We, are tradesmen first and soldiers second. It is the essence of what they are there to do. For us, it’s slightly different.

We are Engineers, Suppliers, Admin-ers…who are also trained to fight. But in my 22+ years I have never fired a shot in anger – even though I’ve been to more than one war zone, and been in at least one shooting war.

It took me a while to realise though, that I might one day have to fight. When I joined the RAF back in 1987 we had the Russians as our enemy. They were never really going to come and fight us, as the stakes were too high – Nuclear war and all that. But all of a sudden I found myself in Saudi in 1991. And I was sending aircraft off to fight for the liberation of Kuwait. Now I wasn’t directly involved in killing people. But the aircraft I was servicing and putting into the air could have been. The Radars I fixed were designed to be Air Interception Radars. Their job is to find other aircraft and shoot them down.

Now I could sort of distance myself from the fact that people could die from what I did by saying that I had only a small part in it – and an indirect one at that…but then isn’t that the same excuse that the people living near to Auswitz used? They knew what was going on, but it wasn’t directly their fault?

Then I was on guard and I realised I was holding a rifle and could be called upon to use it. If someone came to attack the camp then I might have to fire that weapon.

And I realised.

That’s my job. The guard duty is a metaphor. It’s protecting the nation and what the nation stands for in miniture.

I am happy that if I had to – if a bad person was attempting to attack, injure or kill people I know (particularly my family) then I would use anything I could to protect them. If I had to I would use a rifle and shoot – to kill – that bad person.

And there are a lot of bad people in the world. Bad people who want to do bad things.

And my family – and my families family, and my families families family – deserves that right to protection. Everyone who lives in the UK regardless of race, creed or colour deserves that right to protection from the state.

I have fought against bad people. People who have done bad things to people. People who want others to suffer and be subjugated. And these bad people need to be stopped. If my country says that there are bad people somewhere doing bad things then I will do my best to try and stop them.

I want our country to be a force for good – and that is part of the job of the British Armed Forces – to be a force for good in the world.

And that is my job. I will do it. And that includes taking someone elses life if I have to.


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2 thoughts on “To kill for…

  1. Anna D on said:

    Thanks for this. Honest, though-provoking and important. I guess we have to trust that our country can make clear decisions about who is 'bad' and who is 'good', but I'm not sure the motivation is always pure or that the country always has a clear mind on these things…Anna

  2. Pingback: Here’s one I made earlier… « Rafairman's Blog

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