YOUNG gunner Adam Colwell says graduating into the RAF has been an "unforgettable" experience.
The 19-year-old leading aircraftman, who went to school in Cinderford, has just become a fully fledged gunner after 24 weeks of intensive basic training at RAF Honington, in Suffolk.
Adam, son of Stephen Colwell and Jayne Jones, is a former pupil of Heywood Community School.
But he is also celebrating after being voted top recruit by his colleagues, picking up the LAC Beard Trophy, which was presented to him by Group Captain Scott Miller, who is also Officer Commanding RAF Honington.
After his graduation, Adam said: "This graduation is a memorable experience and being voted top recruit by my fellow gunners will be easily the greatest award that I'll win.
"Along the way we had to endure hard training exercises and the tough times against the elements, which will be unforgettable."
The parade commander, flying officer Dan Watson, said: "The graduating gunners of Salalah Flight have worked extremely hard during what has been a demanding course.
"Their graduation was the final element in securing their RAF Regiment flashes, commonly known as mudguards.
"The graduation itself went extremely well, giving their loved ones a fine display and furthermore reason to be proud of them."
Adam, along with the other newly graduated gunners, will now go on to further professional training, before being posted on to operational RAF Regiment field squadrons.
This training will culminate in a two-week live field firing exercise held at the Sennybridge Training Area in South Wales.
The physically tough training exercise consists of a progressive shooting package that starts the gunners with firing at static targets from a static position.
The training ends with the young gunners taking part in a demanding – and realistic – tactical fire and movement exercise.