Strathcona's Recce Squadron Represents the Regiment for the Second Year in a Row at Spruce Meadows
In a rare event, the honour of being called the Prince of Wales Squadron was awarded to the Strathcona’s Recce Squadron for the second year in a row. So, in a repeat of 2011, Recce Squadron was again given the privilege of performing at the Calgary Stampede Parade, and the Spruce Meadows North American Championship in Calgary, AB.
The weekend began on the 6th of July with a very early morning. The Squadron had to be downtown in time to muster for the Calgary Stampede Parade. This year’s parade was special, as it was the 100th anniversary of the Stampede, and the Strathconas did not fail to impress. Accompanied by a Leopard 2 A4M, a Coyote Reconnaissance Vehicle, and an Armoured Recovery Vehicle, the Strathconas stole the show from the other performers. As they marched sharply through the city, the crowd sequentially rose to give their humbling applause, and to show their great support for Canada’s military.
The following two days consisted of the Feu de Joie Ceremonies at Spruce Meadows. As is tradition, the Strathconas performed for the opening and closing ceremonies of the North American Championship, hosted on the 7th and 8th of July. In addition, the guard conducted arrival ceremonies for the various dignitaries in attendance, including the Lieutenant-Governor of Albert, Col. (Ret’d) the Honourable Donald Ethell, the Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Peter MacKay, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Walter Natynczyk. This year was particularly memorable due to the celebration of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, in recognition of her 60th year as our Monarch.
The 100 Soldier Guard, led by Major Christopher Nolan, maintained their composure despite the blistering heat. After being inspected by the Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta, the reviewing officer for the parade, the guard fired the Feu de Joie. As always, it was very well received by the thousands of spectators in attendance. Upon completion of the firing, the crowd and the guard stood to honour the families of military members in attendance to recognize their significant sacrifice and support.
The weeks of practice had paid off, and the Strathconas had once again demonstrated the high level of professionalism that has earned them such a great level of respect with the public. With everyone tired from the long, but rewarding weekend, the events concluded with a quiet bus ride back to Edmonton.