Oli’s Story

Meet Oli McDonough



Colour Sergeant


Unit and Location

Alleyn’s School CCF (London) & Trinity School CCF


How long have you been in the Armed Forces?

3 Years

Oli receiving an award of excellence from the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London Sir Ken Olisa at the Lord-Lieutenant and Greater London RFCA’s Award Ceremony 2023

What are some of the challenges you have faced in your career?

Working for the Cadet Forces within a school environment carries an array of difficulties, namely ensuring that the values and standards expected to be upheld in the Armed Forces, are also carried across to the School. This can be difficult for some cadets, however by and large they embrace the change in pace offered by their involvement in the CCF, even if they and others find it difficult.

What is your proudest moment in your military career?

Representing the Cadet Forces during the inaugural ‘Sovereign Steps’ parade during Remembrance Sunday 2022. I and the Contingent Commander (Lt Col S Benest) escorted 8 cadets to provide a stair party for the arrival of His Majesty The King and the Royal Family at the Foreign Office for Remembrance Sunday 2022. The cadets’ appearance and conduct were exemplary, and to have been a part of the process and ceremony was truly an honour.

What is the most important thing you have learned in the Armed Forces?

Working with such a large selection of cadets from varied backgrounds has truly reinforced my belief that compassion and the ability to adapt are key to working with Uniformed Youth Groups, and getting the most out of them and the training time they have.

What was your initial motivation for joining the Armed Forces?

As a former cadet myself, I was extremely aware of how beneficial being a cadet can be, particularly for those who are eager to learn but struggle in a typical classroom-based learning environment. The Cadet Forces are ideal for children and young adults just like these, whilst also able to offer them experiences they cannot gain anywhere else.

How has serving in the Armed Forces impacted your personal life?

Working and volunteering with the cadets undoubtedly means I am away from home far more than the average person. However, my family understands the importance of the work that I do and is supportive of me being away for these lengths of time. Fortunately, I consider the people that I work with friends, and as such, although the time away is at times hard and very tiring, it is also very enjoyable as well.

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