Upon arriving at CFB Edmonton on 7 December 2014, there was a lot of excitement amongst the candidates destined for our Developmental Period 1 (DP1) course. We had been looking forward to getting our DP1 started so that we could contribute to the Canadian Armed Forces in the way that we had signed up to do. The course did not officially start until 12 January and it ran until 13 February 2015. Arriving to Edmonton a week prior to the commencement of Christmas Holidays and returning from vacation prior to the course starting, gave us the chance to get our personal kit and the shacks ready for inspections. During the week prior to Christmas, we had the chance to attend the Soldier’s Christmas Dinner. In doing so, we were given a chance to see what the Regiment offers to its members before the holidays. This also gave us a chance to meet the staff that would be training us in the weeks to come.
The first day brought more excitement as this was the day we began our journey to become part of Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians). On course, many students experienced ups and downs because of all of the information being taught in such a short period of time, however everybody was willing to help each other in areas where anyone was struggling. An example of this was when the course learned how to identify Armoured Fighting Vehicles. The course members who had a strong understanding and knowledge of these vehicles helped their peers in need. During the physical training sessions in the morning and throughout the day, course mates also helped motivate one another to get through. It truly was a team dynamic.
In addition, the course staff was also very helpful by coming in on weekends and putting together extra slideshows to prepare the soldiers for the tests to come. Other materials covered by staff over the weekends consisted of setting up 5-man tents and working the stoves and lanterns. The staff explained in great detail the history of the Regiment in which we were all hoping to become a part of. This included a tour through the Regimental lines to observe the equipment and Regimental traditions. Learning more about the history of the Regiment over the years generated more excitement and anticipation within us, as we soon got our chance to become part of that history with the successful completion of the course.
Now, as badged Strathconas, we move on to our Leopard 2 or TLAV D&M courses to prepare us for our roles in A and B Squadron. We are truly excited to participate in the upcoming exercises and perform the responsibilities of an Armoured Crewman, the reason we joined the Army!