One RTU Down, on to the Next
By Maj Chris Hartwick, OC of LoE1
The morning of 4 April 2017, at the International Peace Support Center (IPSC) in Starychi Ukraine, marked the completion of a ten week training cycle for the 1st Battalion of the 28th Mechanized Brigade (1-28th Mech). Between 30 January and 1 April 2017, the Ukrainian Infantry unit was put through their paces, being validated on their individual soldier skills as well as collective training at the section, platoon, company and ultimately battalion level. Sitting on the sidelines were the many proud training organizers, instructors, and mentors from Ukraine, United States, Canada, Lithuania, Poland, and Denmark who made this training possible.
In the audience representing the Canadian contingent were the Joint Task Force Ukraine (JTF-U) command team and Canadian training company command team. A few soldiers who were recognized throughout the training were awarded top performing soldiers certificates. After the parade, there was a frenzy of farewells between members of the Ukrainian unit and their international instructors. Members of the 1-28th Mech had to return to post exercise drills, loading armoured fighting vehicles on to trains and packing kit for the return trip home to Mykolaiv. As the Ukrainian soldiers walked off the parade square one could see that spirits were high after successfully completing the training cycle; however, suspense was in the air as to what their next stop would be. There had been rumours of leave, an exercise in Germany, and the possibility of returning to the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Zone in the near future. Wherever the next set of orders for the 1-28th Mech takes them, all the Canadian members of JTF-U wish them the best of luck.