Reconnaissance Squadron – Ex STEELE SABRE - 4/3rd (US) Cavalry Squadron Visit
By : Lt Clarkson RL, 2nd Troop Leader, Recce Sqn
At the end of September, the Regiment deployed on Exercise STEELE SABRE, an exercise designed to continue the Readiness training that culminated in the year’s earlier Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE. For Recce Squadron, the visit of nine soldiers from our affiliated American unit, 4th Squadron (“Longknife”), 3rd Cavalry Regiment (“Brave Rifles”) added an international flavour to the exercise.
Led by Captain Alexander (US Army) and First Sergeant Nania, the American contingent left a sunny Fort Hood, Texas for 6 days in the field with Recce Squadron, a visit that encompassed dismounted small arms ranges, tank live fire ranges and integration into the Sabre Troops. After a day’s acclimatisation to the mild (but for the Texan-based Americans, cold) weather, our American brethren pitted their skills against 4th Troop’s Trench Range. The Trench Range, which involved the shooting the C6, C7, C9, pistol, shotgun and M203 Grenade Launcher over a 1.2km course tested soldiers’ drills, accuracy, fitness, agility and reaction to stress through barbed wire obstacles and lung-busting sprints between stands. Despite relative unfamiliarity with some of the weapons, the Americans got swiftly into the spirit of the range, eagerly competing with their Canadian counterparts for the best individual time.
Following this, the visitors moved onto bigger guns, in the form of joining A Squadron on their Tank Range. Given that most had only ever fired the remote weapon system of the Stryker vehicle, the Leopold C2 105mm elicited much excitement as they gleefully fired rounds and then signed the subsequent empty cases.
With ears suitably ringing from the ranges, the final portion of their visit was the integration into 1st and 2nd Troop as gunners and GIBs (“Guy in Back”), as the two Troops deployed into Screen positions overlooking two likely enemy manoeuvre corridors. This allowed the Americans to appreciate the surveillance aspect of Recce Squadron’s capability and they took turns operating the Mast and Remote Camera variants, observing enemy movements and reporting them to the CP as well as, learning the importance of camouflage and concealment.
Finally, they redeployed back to Edmonton to gain a brief flavour of the local nightlife (much to the jealousy of the Squadron who remained in the screen line for another 36 hours) and returned back to warm and dry Fort Hood.