Ex PATRICIA ACES: Strathconas in the Desert
By Tpr Smith and Tpr Van Nieuwenhuyze
During the NTC tasking, Exercise PATRICIA ACES, Strathcona crewmen worked in collaboration with soldiers from 1 PPCLI and 11 Armoured Cavalry Regiment (an American unit), forming what was known as Demon Company. In early October, 2011, troops from Recce squadron began work up training with A Company, 1 VP. The combat team trained in both Edmonton and Wainwright, acquiring qualifications such as live fire section attacks, PWTs, and close quarter combat for deployment to Fort Irwin, California. Demon Coy also has the opportunity of working with an American unit attached to 3 Platoon; call sign Blackjack.
While deployed, Recce Sqn had the opportunity of showing their skills in a variety of settings. This was proven when the troops were sent to assault a heavily fortified American combat outpost, and being largely outnumbered, managed to overrun the majority of the base, rendering them combat ineffective. On the second planned attack, Troops from Recce also made the only two helicopter kills on the exercise, as well as the first stealth knife kill at NTC. Many other vehicle and personnel kills were made as well, mainly through Canadian firepower, along with IED placements.
Many times during this exercise, Recce Sqn leadership was given a chance to take charge, and lead the confused soldiers back into the fight. Corporal Young demonstrated this when he came upon a group of soldiers bunkered behind a rock wall, unsure of what to do next. Corporal Young took initiative and ordered a charge up the hill to the nearest enemy while yelling triumphantly "It’s a charge boys, it’s a charge!" in a true Strathcona fashion.