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Hundreds of soldiers muster in region for exciting exercises

Trail Champion
By Trail Champion
August 20th, 2014

No, be not afraid, the Kootenays haven’t gone to war.

If you’re noticing an influx of military vehicles and personnel, it’s because roughly 450 reserve soldiers and 80 military vehicles from across the province are now in the area to begin a fascinating training exercise called Exercise Kootenay Cougar 2014.

According to Major Dan Thomas, Senior Reserve Public Affairs Officer, Third Canadian Division, boots are on the ground today.

“The main body of our soldiers is arriving today; they will ‘shake out’ for two days, and then embark on an intense four-day skills competition from Saturday to Tuesday. We clean up Wednesday, and return home (across B.C.) Thursday,” Thomas said.

He said Exercise Kootenay Cougar 2014 is 39 Canadian Brigade Group’s major training event for the year. 

“The exercise is planned as a military skills competition which will challenge Army Reserve soldiers in the first principles of ‘shoot, move, and communicate’. The exercise also confirms the readiness capability of the soldiers and 39 Canadian Brigade Group as a whole, if required to respond in support of Canadian Armed Forces assistance during domestic emergencies or expeditionary operations.”

To be held in Trail from Aug. 18 to 28, Exercise Kootenay Cougar will see soldiers grouped into platoons, which will be assessed and scored based on their training performance.

“The exercise venue consists of four Forward Operating Bases (FOB), each with two scenario-based stands,” Thomas said. “Junior leaders in the platoons will be required to lead their soldiers through each stand incorporating the first principle skills (shoot, move, and communicate) in the austere and challenging environment. In a round robin fashion, the platoons will rotate through each FOB.  The training during the exercise consists of: Platoon attack and water crossing; Clearance patrol; Close quarter battle; Small arms range; Downed pilot extraction; Live grenade range; Decontamination drills; Gap crossing and Survival skills.”

While that may sound official and boring, it actually involves exciting efforts that include blowing stuff up, building floating bridges across turbulent waters in tiny time frames, blowing more stuff up, survival exercises and … you guessed it … blowing stuff up.

But Thomas maintains that it’s not all about blowing stuff up.

“Exercise Kootenay Cougar 2014 provides realistic and challenging training for the soldiers of 39 Canadian Brigade Group,” he said. “Through instilling resolute determination through competition, soldiers will confirm their soldier skills and readiness abilities to respond in support of Canadian Armed Forces assistance during domestic emergencies or expeditionary operations when required.”

 

 

 

Categories: General

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