EX STEELE ASSAULT
Cpl Jeffery Pegler
1 September 2009
With the Squadron arriving back refreshed from a relaxing summer leave block, A Sqn deployed from the 9th to the 22nd of August for Exercise STEELE ASSUALT. This exercise was designed to put the Squadron though its initial paces seeing the completion of the 105 mm gunnery course, the Squadron gun camp and the completion of initial Individual Battle Task Standards training for our deployment on Task Force 1-10.
After arriving on the ground running in Wainwright, we quickly began on our never ending list of activities scheduled for the duration of the exercise. Our first week saw the completion of initial small arms ranges and preliminary Troop level shake outs working on movement and basic tactics. This also allowed us to wet our feet in the joys of navigating by night. This challenge resulted in teaching some harder lessons than others. The culmination of the first week saw a Squadron level shake out which could not have had better weather if you like rain. It would rain just enough to make everything wet then let off enough to give you hope only to rain harder the next time. This aside, the training was a great experience allowing all members to develop their skills and see how they fit into the larger context. At the end of the day we found that 1st Troop had the first two kills, 3rd Troop found that tanks don’t like swamps and that Trooper Bob Friesen learned that water on tanks is slippery and that your rain gear will hold a person’s complete body weight suspended from a turret.
The second week found the Squadron completing an active maintenance schedule as well as PCF and Squadron gun camps. All the fresh gunners learned the thrill and excitement of firing the 105 mm for the first time and the Tps learned the excitement of both day and night level 3 battle runs. The week culminated with the arrival of our Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Derek Macaulay and the Regimental Sergeant Major Chief Warrant Officer Joseph Ramsay to conduct our confirmations. Arriving with him was Task Force 1-10, 1 Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group Commander Lieutenant Colonel Conrad Mialkowski and his Regimental Sergeant Major Chief Warrant Officer Stewart Hartnell who took time out of his busy schedule to spend some time with us and deliver to us a motivating speech that really got straight to the point.
There was one interesting development during the duration of the exercise that gave cause to mild anxiety to at least a few members when an undisclosed illness took hold of the soldiers of A Sqn. Although the seriousness was never considered lightly, it did give rise to a couple interesting developments. Such as the consideration of possible quarantine for the entire squadron which caused a few low murmurings. As well, due to the direction of the medics, those that had been deemed possible cases were required to wear face masks and rubber gloves while operating in closed environments. Although, necessary for all our safety, still allowed for a few moments of humor as masked soldiers operated their equipment.
In all, the Squadron returned from the field tired and weary but happy with their performance having all three Tps confirmed and prepared to face the future challenges that will cross the Squadron’s path.