Exercise STEELE BAYONET: Leaving the Driveway on The Road to War
Tpr Butler, 2 Troop B Squadron
25 March 2009
B Squadron is again on The Road to War. We left the driveway on 16 March 2009 commencing Exercise STEELE BAYONET. We started the week with a groan and shuffle as the troops arrived for 0300 weapons draw. I’m not sure anyone really remembers the bus ride that follows as I recall pulling out of the Regiment and being elbowed awake by my loader, arriving in the -20 degree paradise that is Wainwright.
Time was not wasted as the crews went straight to work preparing the tanks, stowing kit and attaching implements. Techs were out in full force as all the “new” problems on the tanks were discovered. (Cpl Hogan and MCpl Hall sorry about that scavenger hose.) Tanks bore sighted, the training schedule took over in full swing conducting greatly anticipated crew and troop level training, killing phantom T-72s and conducting Improvised Explosive Device drills. Crew and Troop level training lasted the remainder of Monday and Tuesday. By Wednesday loaders pumped rounds in the chamber, crew commanders called fire orders and gunners fired rounds down Range 16 as the Squadron moved on to static shoots. Thursday saw crew level battle runs followed by the evening dry run of the troop level battle run.
Everyone was looking forward to Friday, but there was no time to shut down early since much training remained. By this point breakdowns forced the Squadron to play musical tanks with all remaining runners and gunners; however we were able to complete the live fire troop level battle run. Once all rounds were expended, there was the mad dash to the finish line to wash tanks and prep for low bedding from Wainwright to Suffield. Tanks ready, it was time to clean up the shacks and wait for the bus for the ride back home.
Reflecting on the exercise, it gave B Squadron an excellent opportunity to work out some kinks, foster crew and troop cohesion, and identify new problems to solve in Suffield during Exercise DESERT RAM. For many of us, it was our first exercise on tanks and this was a great challenge which provided excellent training and insight. Having left the driveway we can now feel more confident as we head towards the highway on The Road to War.