52-year-old servicewoman proves age is just a number by completing Royal Air Force officer training on International Women's Day at RAF Wittering in Peterborough
A 52-year-old servicewoman has proved age is no barrier to career progression after completing her Royal Air Force officer training on International Women's Day at RAF Wittering in Peterbrorugh.
RAF Flying Officer Caroline Newton, 52, from Lincolnshire, has completed phase two of her officer training to become the Support Force Training Officer of the No.85 Expeditionary Logistics Wing of the RAF Support Force at RAF Wittering in Peterborough.
International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.
Ms Newton joined the military 34 years ago and has served her country in some of the most remote and demanding locations, including: Cyprus, Northern Ireland, Norway, America, Canada, Iraq, the Falklands, Ascension Island and Egypt.
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She grew up in Lincolnshire and developed a strongly independent and inquisitive personality from a young age.
“I didn’t want to do what everyone else at school and college wanted to do," she said. "I wanted to leave home and experience a life of my own.
"I was the only one of my college course (office and business management) to join the military, which was pretty unusual back then.”
After more than three decades as an enlisted servicewoman, becoming an RAF officer is a life changing moment.
"Dealing with people and helping someone to be the best version of themselves was my area of excellence," she said. "So it was a natural transition into the training environment.
"I had some great mentors who coached an encouraged me.”
Newton credits her Squadron Leader, Tim Henson, and Flight Lieutenant, Nicola Mackay for supporting her through her training to become an RAF officer.
“They were great motivators," she said. "They saw the qualities I had and saw my potential, and I was proud to have had their support. Their encouragement was a really solid grounding.”
“For the first six weeks of officer training I kept really quiet. I was the oldest person there, and I’d been in for 34 years, so I wanted to blend in as best I could and not stick out like a sore thumb.
"But I quickly realised the influence that I had, because I was 52 and could keep going. The other students, who were half my age, had to keep going. And they were so encouraging, never once did I think about giving up. Although, Battle-PT (a physical training session which requires candidates to conduct arduous exercises while performing: a military skill, drill, or task while wearing and carrying military equipment) was a nightmare though.”
Newton’s achievements also go beyond her military career, and into the growing world of health and wellbeing through her commitment to yoga. She is a qualified yoga teacher and is bringing her love of this exercise to the Royal Air Force.
She said: “Yoga fits within our strategy of building fitness, emotional and psychological wellness and resilience. It can bring about a more focussed attention, a greater energy within the body, enables increased fitness, flexibility, strength, co-ordination and balance. It can also have a great impact on your mindfulness.”