OC’s Monthly Update - September

Major John L Cochrane
14 October 2008

Well folks, time continues to fly by. As I write this update I find myself on the 9th of October. We are on the last day of Exercise REFLEX RAPID (Ex RR III) and the Squadron is poised to head home to Edmonton this evening for a few days of well deserved rest.

Since we arrived in Wainwright a month ago we have managed to keep ourselves extremely busy. Since the start of the Combat Team Commanders Course we have had a minimum of 1 Tank Troop, usually two, out training every day. Within this context we have also deployed the squadron echelon under SSM Stacey and occasionally under the SQ – WO Hopkin who was afforded the opportunity to get out and “play” when circumstances permitted. Also deploying were the attachments that were co-located with us, which were the medics and elements from the NSE. During this time frame we have conducted a great deal of combined arms training that has involved everything from armour, infantry, engineers, recce, helicopters, and the list goes on. Despite the fact that this exercise added an additional 15 days in the field it was a great opportunity to actually conduct some dry training in an environment that let us refresh some old techniques in preparation for Ex REFLEX RAPID.

During Ex RR III the squadron was again busy normally deploying two troops out daily for various tasks that ranged from live fire traces, combat conditioning, to convoy escort stands. Each proved beneficial in its own way and certainly helped to prepare us for Exercise MAPLE GUARDIAN following the Thanksgiving Weekend. During Ex RR III we had numerous visits of personnel including the Commanding Officer of LdSH(RC) LCol Derek Macaulay, Comd 1 CMBG Col Andre Corbould, Comd 5 CMBG Col Menard, BGen Laroche, and even the CLS MGen Andrew Leslie. During the CLS’ visit the squadron took advantage to have him promote one of our young soldiers to the rank of Tpr (T). Tpr Brown appeared rather surprised when he was called forward by the CLS and then couldn’t stop grinning for several hours after being promoted.

Throughout the course of the deployment to Wainwright we have had opportunities to conduct many operations and events that are no longer the normal routine. One that 31 took great pride in was the Fire Power demo that they got to perform with their troop. It was designed to demonstrate the abilities that the tank squadron brings to the table, the combination of deterrence, protection, mobility and of course firepower were all discussed; but at the end of the day it was the firepower that got the infantry’s attention. Sgt Thomas’ exceptional shooting that deliberately scared the retired Feret on the range was gunnery at its best; while Lt Gray (Ginger as he is known throughout the Squadron) conducted an outstanding shoot with some Service HESH that provided a clear indication of what we bring to the table. The subsequent troop shoot and smoke shoot brought 50 rounds to bear in just over 3 minutes. It was an extremely successful event and my thanks and congratulations go out to 31 complete.

A couple of final notes: congratulations go out to the following promotions that have occurred since my last update:

Tpr Brown to Tpr(T)
MCpl Thomas to Sgt
MCpl Denson to Sgt
MCpl Parsons to Sgt
MCpl McGarity to Sgt

Congratulations to each of you have all worked very hard to get where you are – keep up the good work.

I would also like to welcome my 2IC to the squadron, Captain Dave Gottfried joined us on the 21st of September and has quickly become a valued member of the C Squadron Team.

I would also be remiss if I did not mention the outstanding work of our Maintenance crew that is ably led by Sgt Clipsham and our one man Signals Detachment, MCpl Oliver, without these two organizations this Squadron would not be rolling. On the horizon for the squadron is Ex MAPLE GUARDIAN, Germany training, and a bunch of additional local training at home in Edmonton. The squadron will be conducting a family brief to all families and friends in the near future, as the date gets closer, and is firmly identified, I ask that if it is at all possible that you try to attend as we will be presenting information that will be of interest to you. Again as I said, as details become available they will be pushed out to each of you. On top of this I will endeavour to get it out as soon as possible in order to allow you to plan well in advance.