Exercise CHARGING DRAGOON 13 - 24 November 2018
Corporal. R.D. Sanderson, 60 Troop
Wrapping up the training in 2018 saw D Squadron’s 60 Troop attached to A Squadron. Both A and D Squadron were utilized effectively with their broad multitude of capabilities for a two week Rural Municipality Area exercise (RMA) in and around the Renfrew area with a final push back to the Petawawa Training Area.
The week leading up to deploying to the field saw 60 Troop hard at work preparing their personal kit, crew equipment and vehicles for the exercise. Drivers ensured their vehicles were fully up to par on maintenance, knowing that they would be operating them alongside civilian traffic and within a built up area. The road move from the hangar lines at CFB Petawawa to the Renfrew Fairgrounds proved to take its toll on The Regiment’s vehicles with a Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle (TAPV) and several other vehicles suffering from various vehicle failures; each was well taken care of with the timely assistance of National Recovery, Maintenance/Recovery assets and 19C Master Warrant Officer Leblanc, A Squadron Sergeant Major. Once the troops had reached their destination of the Renfrew Fairgrounds it was time to occupy and setup the leaguer. Even with the first blasts of winter arriving, and new record lows being set for the Ottawa Valley, the frigid temperatures didn’t slow down A and D Squadron from working hand in hand to quickly and efficiently build the sustainment area and Command Post. Once camp was established the pace quickly shifted into camp routine with roving and gate sentry along with other vital leaguer tasks.
The first week had a lot of moving parts including rehearsing and coordinating Patrol and Troop level movement to include taking up positions within an urban RMA environment. The emphasis on this was giving soldiers an opportunity to further develop and to learn more about the positions senior to them that they will one day fill. In doing so, it gave them insight in how to ease the load of their superiors allowing them to better focus on the task at hand knowing their crew knows what is required of them. Most mornings the troops would wake up, fuel the vehicles, get a hot breakfast in them and then push out from the night’s leaguer. Additionally, once the vehicle was ready to depart for the day’s tasks and if time permitted a quick Tim Hortons run helped boost morale. Occasionally, patrols left early and went to connect with the local community providing elementary schools with a show and tell of our vehicles and equipment which was very well received by those in attendance.
The Echelon led by 19C was always ready to replenish the troops, quickly establishing themselves where required and passing up clear and concise Running Replenishment orders over the net, alleviating any possible confusion. With the new TAPV’s being more temperature sensitive, particularly to the cold weather, running the vehicles continuously became a necessity. As a result, the Echelon was already ready to refuel ensuring we were ready to roll out at a moment’s notice.
Between the first and second week there was a maintenance day with Maintainers, EO Techs, Weapons Techs and the Signallers working long hours in the cold jumping from vehicle to vehicle, rectifying any issues they could. Even with all the work being done on the maintenance day, there was still some time to slip in a quick Squadron vs. Squadron game of football in the snow. The game drew a crowd with The Commanding Officer (CO) and The Colonel of The Regiment coming over to cheer on the troops. Post football game, The Colonel of The Regiment gave a speech to the troops on the ground, which was followed by The CO and Regimental Sergeant Major awarding coins and recognizing a handful of troops for their outstanding work.
The second week began with the Primary Reserve Officers moving into camp. For many, with the additional personnel it was their first time working with a full Reconnaissance Squadron. The students on the Armoured Reserve Squadron Commanders Course (ARSCC) received their orders, conducted their battle procedure, formulated their plans and culminated with them giving their orders down to the respective troops. For many soldiers, it was interesting getting exposed to so many different Squadron Commanders in such a short timeframe, which allowed an appreciation for the different methodologies and styles of the student commanders. Near the end of the exercise, the battle moved into the Petawawa Training Area. Areas of Interest were observed and a High Value Target (HVT) was identified and located. The final push saw Troops from A Squadron form an inner and outer cordon of the Urban Assault Village while 60 Tp established an Observation Post to get eyes into the village to confirm the HVT’s presence. Once the HVT was identified, two 5 person detachments led by Warrant Officer Chaytor (60 Tp) entered the village dismounted and extracted the HVT while providing local security for the Squadron Commander. Wrapping up Exercise CHARGING DRAGOON successfully, A & D Squadron then moved into a convoy escort, overseeing the safe movement of the HVT to a Helicopter Landing Zone where the HVT was extracted.
To summarize, the combined effort of 60 Tp with A Squadron provided the ARSCC the opportunity to work with a full Recce Squadron, something the Reserve Force Officers don’t get an opportunity to experience very often. This ensured that they had the appropriate tools to execute all squadron level tasks and gave the training audience a realistic environment. This will lead to the successful candidates’ preparedness for future missions both domestically and abroad as future Squadron Commanders.
Audax et Celer