Exercise COLLABORATIVE SPIRIT 2018
Lt G.G. Easterbrook, 1 Troop Leader, A Sqn, RCD
Exercise COLLABORATIVE SPIRIT is an opportunity for the Canadian Armed Forces, specifically soldiers from the 4th Canadian Division Support Group in Petawawa, to showcase our world class combat capabilities to both military and non-military personnel alike. Not only did our valued guests have the opportunity to see our vehicles and weaponry in action, but they also had the ability to use our weapons and surveillance systems. This provided a unique opportunity for our guests to immerse themselves in the military culture for a day, and allowed for healthy dialogue to form between the serving members working on the exercise, and the guests who were visiting.
This year, Exercise COLLABORATIVE SPIRIT ran between the dates of 24-28 September 2018. From the perspective of the Royal Canadian Dragoons (RCD) it ran smoothly and was a great success. Each day upon the arrival of our guests, they would be welcomed by the RCD Command Team, Lieutenant-Colonel R. Marois and Chief Warrant Officer J. Leamon, after which they were divided into three platoons. Once complete, our guests were given protective military equipment to wear and were transported out to the Juliet Tower range in the back of a Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV).
On arrival at Juliet Tower, participants were exposed to a variety of stands encompassing many facets of The RCD work culture. The static displays showcased the intricacies of our equipment and allowed time for our guests to ask pertinent questions about the employment and use of our tools. It also provided a unique opportunity to interact with and use some of the equipment we had on display. These displays included such things as the inner workings of our new Tactical Armored Patrol Vehicle (TAPV), the operation and purpose of our Remote Surveillance Equipment, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle employment, and much more.
By far, the majority of our guests enjoyed the live fire portion of their visit the most. All our participants had the ability to shoot the vast majority of the weapons systems we employ in the Canadian Army. Some of these weapons included the C6 General Purpose Machine Gun (7.62mm), the 25mm Bushmaster chain gun - a weapon system mounted on the Coyote, LAV3, and LAV6.0, as well as the multitude of small arms weapons we employ on a regular basis.
The most valuable portion of Exercise COLLABORATIVE SPIRIT was the unique opportunity it provided for our military members to interact with key leaders in our communities throughout the country. The candid conversations had between serving members and our guests gave a snapshot into our daily lives as soldiers, and made them feel more connected to the military community. The new found understanding based on these interactions illustrated the Canadian Army’s role not only within Canada, but on a global context as well.