OC C Sqn Update - January
By Maj John Cochrane
18 February 2009
Greetings to everyone, I hope that all is well and that preparations on the home front continue, as it certainly does here! Over the past month the Squadron has continued with Theatre Mission Specific Training or TMST as we refer to it. This includes training in topics such as cultural awareness, First Aid, Counter Insurgency operations, etc. It is an extensive list, but all designed to prepare the soldiers of the Squadron as thoroughly as possible.
In addition to our TMST training we sent a half squadron to Fort Bliss, Texas for a short 10 day refresher exercise to ensure that everyone is refocused on our deployment following a hearty and enjoyable Christmas spent with our families. The Squadron performed extremely well under the tutelage of the Squadron 2IC- Captain Dave Gottfried, the Battle Captain-Captain Sandy Cooper, and the Squadron Sergeant Major- Master Warrant Officer Richard Stacey.
The remainder of the Squadron stayed in Edmonton until 31 January when it departed for Germany where, we are currently completing our training on the Leopard II A6M. The soldiers are all performing well and working hard. At the time of writing we are in week 3, or Simulation week, which involves long hours, but quickly brings all aspect of the material taught early in the course together. I must pass along my thanks to the Armour School Staff that are here coordinating and executing a great deal of the training that we are receiving. Capt “Bernie” Bernard, WO Morault, as Course Officer and Course Warrant, have kept the ship moving in the right direction, despite endless suggestions from Major Rob Hume and myself; Sgt Allen, Sgt Clarke, and Sgt Lepage were the Gunnery Instructors, whose advice was invaluable; Cpl Black who was responsible for the Driving and Maintenance course; and last but certainly not least, Cpl Poroux who was the Admin Cpl and the true driving force behind ensuring everything took place. Although the guys have been away from home they have had some opportunity to explore the country of Germany, which has been an incredible opportunity. It is ironic that we are almost half way around the world, yet Strathconas are everywhere, even in Berlin. Lt Kallos, Captain Beitz, Major Hume and myself were standing on a subway platform in Berlin when we “ran into” Major Scott Shrubb, his wife Kendra and kids Emily and Owen – it truly is a small world.
Before I sign off I just want to finish by reminding everyone that the Family Brief is scheduled for 6:30 pm on 5 March at the Senior NCOs Mess on the Edmonton Garrison. There will be finger food, some presentations, and an opportunity to meet the soldiers that your loved ones will be working with in Afghanistan. If you at all able to make it we would love to have you and both my SSM Richard Stacey and I are looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible. Perseverance.