This year’s Exercise STALWART GUARDIAN 16 (Ex SG) was the beginning of B Squadron’s Road to High Readiness. After a complete change in leadership, and personnel, Ex SG 16 gave B Squadron the opportunity to improve basic soldier skills, as well confirm standard operating procedures prior to executing more complex training throughout the training year.
After a couple of weeks of preparation in early August, B Squadron moved to 4th Canadian Division Training Center Meaford on 14 August 2016. Upon our arrival, the squadron linked-up with members of the Windsor Regiment and 1st Hussars, and together commenced a five day training period focusing on Individual Battle Task Standards. Included in the five days of training was a day in which all squadron personnel completed Personal Weapons Test 3, more commonly known as the “run-down”. Despite facing some adverse weather, all soldiers were able to gain some valuable experience and improve upon their marksmanship principles. In addition, the squadron spent two extremely wet days on the 25mm range, where crews fired from static and moving positions, by day and night, while engaging targets up to 2000m away. The squadron also completed an additional day of personal weapons ranges to include the 9mm pistol, C-9 and jungle lanes. During the jungle lanes, members moved tactically through a series of obstacles, engaging a series of targets with their personal weapons. Finally, the squadron completed a day of comprehensive CBRN training, led by Sgt Eric Hunter, while select individuals were given the opportunity to throw grenades as part of annual training.
After completing the majority of individual training, the squadron executed three days of troop level training, which saw each of the three troops rotate through two days dismounted and one day mounted on vehicles. 1 Troop, under the leadership of Lt Marty Leonard and WO Michael O’Neal, conducted dismounted navigation training, which included a refresher in basic map and compass. They also constructed a model mud observation post, which was observed by the entire squadron, providing an excellent example of construction and a method used to conduct effective surveillance by day and night. 2 Troop, under the leadership of Lt Adam Rymes and WO Jason Plumley, embraced the dismounted role by establishing patrol bases and observation posts, while conducting point recces. They managed to gain valuable knowledge and learn a multitude of lessons, helping build a more cohesive troop. 3 Troop, under the leadership of Lt Tanner McHattie and WO Anthony Edmunds, took the time to focus on several training aims to include dismounted drills, hasty vehicle check points, route recces and convoy escorts. SHQ Troop was successful in setting up a Command Post, working on procedures for step-ups and communicating within both the squadron and Regimental nets. This included sending vehicle casualty reports and tracking contact reports from the troops deployed forward. This training culminated with the squadron conducting an attack on a fortified enemy position, known as Objective PANTHER. Using 1 Troop in a mounted fire base and 2 and 3 Troops in a dismounted assault force, the squadron effectively executed an assault after a night of intense reconnaissance.
After nine days of training, the squadron completed two days of maintenance prior to returning back to Petawawa. Moving forward, the squadron will continue to build on its skills as training becomes increasingly dynamic at the squadron and Regimental levels. Nevertheless, it will be the skills enhanced during Ex SG that will facilitate future success during the Road to High Readiness.
B Squadron after their final attack on Objective PANTHER.