Written by: Cpl Ayrton Balfour
Having finished Primary Leadership Qualification-Army (PLQ-A), or should I say PLQ-Armoured, I find myself looking back at my experiences on course. My serial had 39 candidates, 7 of which were Strathconas, so I knew that I had to pick up my game to not only to impress the Regiment, but also to impress my fellow Strathcona course mates and the 6 instructors who were Strathconas as well. Being a soldier in the combat arms was very advantageous, as we are exposed to army tactics, radio procedure, and specifically orders on a routine basis. This not only gave us a one up on those candidates in the support trades, but allowed us to assist other students and be the "go-to" guys on course. Strathconas have always been known as a tight-knit group and this course proved that theory once again. We stuck together and supported each other throughout all the trying times. We each had our own experiences to bring to the table, namely recce tactics and tank tactics, which assisted in the offensive oriented portions of the course.
Having previously completed a tour gave me a lot of experience and knowledge which came in handy during Module 3 which was the Stability Operations portion of PLQ. I found it easier to assess pattern of life and knew key questions to ask the local population while conducting presence patrols. A lot of questions I had on how the Army is run during an exercise were answered on this course such as: Why are my Crew Commanders gone so long while the rest of the Troop is completing maintenance? Let me tell you, it's not the first thought soldiers have which is “They must be in the mess tent drinking coffee and eating cookies.” I now know that battle procedure is a very intricate and important process for the completion of an operation, which takes a lot of time and thought.
I know that this course is the stepping stone to becoming a leader within the Canadian Armed Forces and more importantly an armoured crew commander, so I am proud of myself for completing it. I am also proud of the other 33 candidates who persevered and got the job done. By completing PLQ-A many doors have been opened to us to complete a very important and successful career.