Bullets and Beer: Setting the Tone for Regimental Leadership

By: Capt Mike Timms, Adjutant

On 29 August 2016, LCol Mark Lubiniecki held his first Commanding Officer’s retreat for the Regiment’s leadership.  This served as a venue for important discussion on leadership, professional expectations, and future plans.  Of equal importance, it was an opportunity for the Regiment’s leaders to build and foster the relationships necessary for contributive planning and the successful day to day unit functions.  And, what better way to build relationships than shooting through healthy competition at the range followed by drinks and cigars around the fire?

Maj Alex Nitu planned the superb retreat, which began in the early afternoon at the Genesee Range.  We began with a bit of skeet shooting familiarization before commencing a friendly competition.  This competition included five sets of single clays, five sets of double clays, and five sets of single variable direction clays.  The initial plan was to compete in tiers of skill, but it became quickly apparent that the variance in skill level was from mediocre to out-of-practice.  I took the high score for the day with 14 clays struck, with RSM Rob Clarke and Capt Dan Gray close behind at 13 and 12 clays respectively.  Out of a possible 40 clays, these scores were not impressive; obviously we need to do this more often!  Maj Paul Leonard might claim he would have won if it wasn’t for his franken-gun.  Winning is winning, but that said he might have an argument.  SSM Rob Baglole was shooting like a storm trooper until picking up the Commanding Officer’s Benelli, at which point he slayed nearly every clay.  Admittedly, most of the top scorers used this beauty of gun.  Following the skeet shoot, we took the opportunity to sight in rifles for this upcoming hunting season and some tried their hand with a bow.

We left the range in the late afternoon and setup camp at Wabamun Lake Provincial Park.  A large fire was promptly started and a quick assessment of the amount of firewood we had brought left us in doubt that it would last the evening, despite SSM Rob Englehart stopping by his personal campsite to raid his firewood stock and the Commanding Officer having seemingly dismantled and brought his deck and kitchen for firewood.  Capt Dan Gray, Capt Nathan Hevenor, and I, thinking only of the safety of future campers, removed several dead trees that posed a threat of toppling over during the next major storm.  The fire lasted through a productive professional discussion and several side-bar conversations.  By 0200h, satisfied that bonding was achieved, the Regiment’s leaders understood the Commanding Officer’s vision and intent, and all beverages expended, we went to ground before packing up and returning to work the following morning.