Reserve and Regular Force Troops Trained in Arizona’s heat

By Master Corporal Adam R. Winnicki for 2012 Rifleman Magazine.

Whenever I am offered an opportunity to do training in the United States, I jump at the chance. When it’s conducted by 3rd Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment with The United States Marine Corps it’s an opportunity that I cannot miss. This year’s realization was with 3 RCR’s Oscar Company, where I and seven other members of the Queen’s Own Rifles were able to train in Yuma, Arizona.

Our preparations started in late March, where we left the cold climate of Petawawa for the hot desert of Yuma. Members of 3RCR and RCD (Royal Canadian Dragoons) were sent down to assist in training for The Weapons and Tactic Instructor (WTI) Cour e. Our home for the next five weeks was FOB Laguna, a makeshift Forward Operating Base located in U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground. Conditions were identical to those of Afghanistan, and Yuma’s terrain and heat reminded me of my deployment oversea in 2008.

0scar Company’s intent was to complete company-level live-fire ranges, so we began with PWTs (Personal Wireless Telecommunications) and section-level training. Our gun camps allowed us to handle many different weapon systems from pistols, shotgun and M203s to 84mm, 50 cal and 60mm mortar. Following that, we spent four days of close-quarter battle training in an excellent but difficult urban compound called West LA. On the fourth day of Urban Ops we traded our notional round for paintballs. Facing off with a challenging enemy force, which included Major Hill, OC of Oscar Coy. We put our skills to the test and I can say we kept them on their toes by giving them a good fight.

In between all the great weapons training we were getting ready for Helicopter Operations. For the past few years, mechanized training was the name of the game for the Canadian infantry. For this exercise, our LAVs and Coyotes were swapped for Hueys, Sea Stallions and Ospreys. ln preparation before riding these U.S. Marine Corps aircraft we practiced on and off drills and fast roping (a method of insertion using 60ft rope suspended from a helicopter). The 3RCR HJis (Helicopter Insertion Instructor ) built a one-of-a-kind fast roping rig on top of two sea containers. This made for a tremendous tool for dry training before the real thing.

Some soldiers have never been in a Griffin let alone in an actual helicopter, o it was a real pleasure to ride in the monstrous Sea Stallions and the astonishing Osprey, which is an engineering marvel by its ability to take off and land like a helicopter but has the speed and maneuverability of an airplane. An insertion onto an objective is just a single phase in the infantry’s big picture, the real job begins when our boots are on the ground. This is where I found the true value of coming down to the State…. the live fire ranges. When it comes to live fire, whether it’s section, platoon or even company-size, all ranks have something to learn. Commanding troop in a live scenario adds a degree of control, responsibility and trust in individual skills. It brings you as close to fighting a real enemy as it comes something we do not do often enough in both regular and reserve forces. Every soldier on this exercise has seen the importance and effectiveness of Air Mobile Operations. Being able to insert at, on or near your objective adds peed, surprise and maximum firepower to any mission. This can only enhance Canada’s excellent reputation as a world-class fighting force.

Participants included (ranks at time)  Cpl Dan Falco, Cpl Denis Abazovic, Cpl Alex Zimin, Cpl Max Olszewski, Cpl Matt Langille, MCpl Adam Winnicki, Cpl Jeff Brooks. 

"In Pace Paratus – In Peace Prepared"

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