C Squadron: In With a Bang
Lt D.A Gray
25 June 2008
After the high paced stand up, much of C Squadron began the busy road to Afghanistan with a week long Primary Combat Function gun camp in Wainwright from 6 – 13 June. The gun camp was held to qualify 12 new gunners and 3 new crew commanders for the squadron. It also gave an opportunity for many of the new drivers, fresh off the Leopard Driving and Maintenance course, to get some excellent driving experience, both on the range and throughout the training area.
Other than several days of torrential rains and a few thunder storms the majority of the gun camp went off without a hitch. After a few days of setting up camp in the rain just off Range 16, live firing began on Monday, the 9th of June. The crews fired off a total of over 500 rounds and completed 12 individual shoots. The static firing continued throughout the day on Tuesday with the battle runs finishing up on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. The live fire was a success which brought together and confirmed all of the skills taught on the gunner’s course with Tpr Hamilton from SHQ receiving top candidate. With the gun camp itself complete, the focus shifted to the crew commanding and troop leading portion. This consisted of several days of basic movement working up to full Troop level traces and a final few runs through the villages of Range 25.
One of the main highlights (other than getting to put some rounds down range) was the fact that WO St-Onge brought along a gang of his finest cooks and a flying kitchen in order to give some of the newer cooks more experience in field kitchens. I don’t think that anyone would disagree with the fact that the food was excellent and for many of us we ate as well if not better (due to the added attention) than at the mess on the base. With fresh meals varying from steak, shrimp and, scallops, to breakfast burritos and fresh banana bread it was a welcome vacation from the routine meals in Edmonton.
Overall, throughout the week there were a lot of skills and experience gained, many new troops trained, and everyone prepared to start squadron work-up training. Much of the Squadron got its first real chance to work together for what is sure to be a very busy schedule of pre-deployment training and a fast approaching deployment overseas.