After a brief pause from the dynamic Leopard 2 live fire ranges conducted in late October, C Squadron RCD stood poised to take part in Ex Common Ground II conducted in Gagetown, NB, from 5-27 November as part of the 5CMBG Battlegroup. Though the exercise serves primarily as a platform to train students of the Combat Team Commanders Course and to qualify students of other trades, the opportunity for the Squadron to deploy, integrate and train with a full combat team couldn’t be missed.

With the students not being assessed until the 13th, we took the first initial days to tighten existing troop and squadron SOPs. Once perfected, we developed fighting within the combat team, practicing marry-up drills and hasty attacks to name a few examples. By the end of the first portion, we were ready to begin the student led portion of the exercise.

On average, there were at least three traces conducted per day, so there was no shortage of mounted training time; I took full advantage of it. Considering the majority of my career in the Dragoons was spent in reconnaissance, tank specific tasks such as breaching or intimate support was something completely foreign to me and also to many of my peers. Compared to the Coyote, when it came to fighting and maneuvering the platform it was a far more challenging, yet satisfying experience. The ability to move virtually anywhere at any time and positively affect the battlespace with your call sign alone is rewarding. During Ex Common Ground II, I also learned arguably the most important lesson when it came to tanks - maintenance! After three weeks of working on the vehicles, I went from being a complete novice of D&M to having a firm understanding of it; it was not uncommon to be fixing tanks well past midnight each day.

By the 27th of November, the students were finished their traces and we all enjoyed a couple of drinks at the mess tent before it was time to tear down our lines and depart back to garrison for a well-deserved rest. Overall, Ex Common Ground II was an exceptional learning experience for C Squadron. We are now ready to put those skills to the test later next year during Maple Resolve 17 in Wainwright, AB as part of TF Tomahawk.

By MCpl Dan Lacey
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