Exercise MAPLE GUARDIAN 0901 – A Sr NCO’s Perspective
3rd Troop Sergeant, B Squadron
25 June 2009
Transferring from Exercise DESERT RAM (Ex DR) 0901 with three troops to Exercise MAPLE GUARDIAN (Ex MG) 0901 with one troop was an eye opener to say the least. The Regiment’s motto of “Perseverance” was never truer for members of B Squadron during this exercise. During the Relief-in-Place (RiP), it was quickly noted by the soldiers of the squadron that the training was designed principally to exercise the higher echelons of the Battle Group (BG). All individual tank crewman skills had been mastered in Ex DR 0901. The maintenance requirements of the tanks kept the soldiers extremely busy since the squadron’s tanks had been moved directly from Ex DR 0901 in Suffield to Ex MG 0901 in Wainwright. After about four days in KAF, the squadron finally got enough tanks running to begin the force-on-force portion of the exercise on 29 May.
As the exercise was supposed to replicate contemporary operating environment in Afghanistan, members of 3rd Troop were immediately told to constitute a Quick Reaction Force (QRF), while Adm Tp and SHQ became responsible for camp defence in FOB Ma’Sum Ghar. These tasks came with many realistic training scenarios which would allow members of B Squadron who participated in Ex MG 0901 to arrive in theatre with some anxieties and uncertainties quelled. With some of the scenarios that played out in Ex MG 0901 came many growing pains. 3rd Troop, in particular, which earned the nick-name “Helmet Troop” became famous for many of its members earning war wounds throughout the exercise.
Exercise participants conquered a huge learning curve, especially when it came down to the QRF moving from 30-minutes Notice-to-Move, to “Move now, Out!” There were many times when soldiers of B Squadron were quite ready to pull their hair out from frustrations and having no time for Battle Procedure; but it was also during such times that the squadron proved that it can tackle any and all challenges by “soldering on” together. Such challenges overcome enabled the squadron to become a stronger and well-formed unit. The AAR process played a pivotal role in facilitating this learning.
Members of 3rd Troop and the QRF learned that one must be able to pull oneself together and react quickly to the ever-changing dynamics of full spectrum operations. The QRF learned the values of teamwork. After having taken part in various QRF calls and operations, soldiers of the squadron gained confidence in their abilities and the soldiers were ready to take on any challenges that CMTC could devise... and we did!
In summary, after personally experiencing and witnessing the squadron overcome all its challenges in spite support and personnel shortages, I am confident that B Squadron is quite capable of prevailing over any situation that it will be confronted with while deployed in theatre. Additionally, the staff of CMTC should receive congratulations for providing an excellent training forum for members of the squadron and the battle group alike.