F Coy on Exercise STEELE FALCON

Pte Galbraith, JR
2 Pl F Coy TFV
3 December 2009

The clear skies and beautiful landscape of Interior British Columbia will seem like a luxury in February, when the soldiers of Foxtrot Company (F Coy) are deployed on Op PODIUM, the Canadian Forces' support to the Vancouver Winter Games. In preparation F Coy spent ten days from 28 September to 8 October 2009 conducting Exercise STEELE FALCON at the Chilcotin Training Area in the Interior of British Columbia. With the soldiers of the company coming together from ten Army Reserve units of 39 Canadian Brigade Group and three reserve signals squadrons, this exercise built the teams that will be needed within the company through training in general-purpose soldier skills at section level conducting patrols, and dry and live fire at pairs, group, section and platoon levels.

The highlight of the exercise was the opportunity to engage in live field firing, a first for many soldiers. This type of training takes soldiers off of conventional ranges and requires them to maintain situational awareness while they move, shoot, and communicate. These scenarios and the other core skills covered in Chilcotin ensured that the sections, platoons, and the rest of the company were all functioning effectively as a team and provided a solid foundation for the winter training and mission-specific skills to follow on future exercises.

For many of the new reservists involved, this was the first chance to apply the soldiering skills they had learned on basic and initial occupational training last summer. This was also the first opportunity for many to enjoy the excellent meals provided by an HQ Sqn field kitchen, a comfort many soldiers had not previously dreamed existed.

The Chilcotin Training Area is a 400 sq km gem with a mix of closely wooded terrain and open rolling hills (littered with cast off volcanic rock – you don’t really notice it until you’re doing fire and movement) located 60 km west of Williams Lake, BC, that has not seen training on the scale of STEELE FALCON in a decade. The seven-hour road move from Vancouver preserves it’s isolation and has led to it being popular with local hunters (creating a requirement for two “Situation Threat” paragraphs in every order – exercise and no duff). As CSM F Coy observed, “Pick this up and move it five hours closer to Vancouver and it would be perfect.”