By 2Lt Marshall Douglas
19 May 2006

“Who wants to sign up for Strong Contender this year?” the question rang out loud. “Oh yeah – kick ass sports!” and “Sure! Sign me up” were the common replies. And the return: “By the way…it’s a mil-skills competition this year.” And there, the morale dropped. However, Recce Squadron, bolstered by a smattering of brave souls from A and B Squadrons and E Company, forged a fledgling team that would represent the Strathcona’s against the hardest of hard teams from 1 CMBG. And so the Strathcona Strong Contender team began a rigorous training regime in the second week of March. Of course the competition was only two weeks away and the team needed to come together quickly and form a hardened team of snake-eating recce patrolmen.

Sgt Rob “When I was in Assault Troop” Clarke spearheaded the training program including First Aid, AFV Recognition, and Map & Compass work. The PT schedule included the dreaded Ruck marches (insert runs) and cardio work which often saw Cpl’s “Wanna run again, Sir?” Chauhan and Jessie “I can run forever” Scheller leading the pack. As the competition neared, the team gelled into a formidable force, the weather improved into an almost foreseeable spring, and it seemed that a victory was a possibility.

Then it snowed… a lot.

“On the 21st of March, four teams set forward with one goal: to reach gold. The rucksack was promptly replaced with a set of snowshoes, much to the dismay of Cpl James “I can’t snowshoe straight!” Guay, and the team was ready to roll. The course was laid out in a 20 km loop broken by four stands: the range, the obstacle course, a First Aid stand, and a small party tasking. The Strathcona’s quickly established their dominance at high-speed movement and navigation. Our small party tasking skills and First Aid (in a tactical situation) dominated the competition. By the end of the day, the team had completed all four stands and the 20km march in a fast and furious manner. The bus at the finish line was a beacon of light to the team as we finished quickly… a morale-killer to the team who was just departing for their last leg.

“In the following day of competition, we could only sit and watch as the other four teams competed. At the end of the two days of competition, the overall results were tallied and a presentation took place at the Lamplighter Club. Overall, the team beat out all the other teams in the timed march (not bad for a bunch of APPARENTLY fat tankers) but couldn’t quite keep the lead at the stands and so the LdSH(RC) Strong Contender team finished strongly (and a little bit bitterly) in second place, losing only to 3rd Battalion PPCLI by 5 points out of a possible 500.

The highly motivated, fit, and dedicated team fought and succeeded against ferocious competition and represented the Strathcona’s ability to compete in any situation against any other team.