Nairn volunteers’ dedication recognised

November 5, 2021

Two Nairnshire volunteers have had their dedication to the Army Cadet Force (ACF) recognised.

Sergeant Major Instructors Eric Mills (58) and Jonathan McDonald BEM (54), from 1st Battalion The Highlanders’ Nairn Detachment, were both presented with the Cadet Force Warrant.

SMI Mills joined the ACF in 2007 as an instructor with Ardersier Detachment, where he was later appointed as Detachment Commander. In 2010 he transferred to Nairn Detachment as an instructor.

Cadet volunteer receives award from commandant.
SMI Mills (left) being presented with the Cadet Forces Warrant by Battalion Commandant Col McDonald.

SMI Mills is a key member of the Battalion’s Shooting Team, training cadets of both Moray Company and the Battalion in preparation for the various shooting competitions the cadets can take part in, which has also seen Eric take cadets down for the Inter-Service Cadet Rifle Meet held at Bisley Ranges in Surrey. This sees cadets compete against fellow cadets from across the UK – as well as international teams from Canada and Hong Kong. SMI Mills’ leadership and management abilities of the cadets and fellow adults was recognised in 2017 with his appointment as the Battalion’s Regimental Sergeant Major, a position he held until 2019.

SMI McDonald, who is the Nairn Detachment Commander, has been part of the Battalion in some capacity since the 1980s, starting his career as a young cadet. After taking some time away from the cadets when he aged out he re-joined as an Adult Instructor for Nairn in 1988, where he has been ever since. SMI McDonald was appointed as the Detachment Commander in 2000. Jonathan’s dedication to the young people of the Highlands was recognised in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours where he received the British Empire Medal.

Cadet volunteer receives award from commandant.
SMI McDonald BEM (left) being presented with the Cadet Forces Warrant by Battalion Commandant Col McDonald.

The Cadet Force Warrant was created in August 2020 and is designed to recognise the value placed by the Ministry of Defence on the Senior Non-Commissioned Adults within the UK’s Cadet Forces. The new warrant will be presented to all adult volunteers on promotion to Sergeant Major Instructor in the Army Cadets and their equivalent within the other Cadet Services, this includes those who have already achieved and holds the rank of SMI, to highlight the effort, achievement and the commitment required to reach this rank.

Both Jonathan and Eric were presented with their warrants on 13 October, by Battalion Commandant Colonel Mike MacDonald, at the Nairn Detachment Cadet Centre.