We Didn’t Start the Fire 2.0

By: Lt Joshua Horlings, 2 Tp Ldr, B Sqn

From April 20 to May 3, 2018, B Sqn deployed 9 personnel to Wainwright in support of A Sqn on Ex REFLEX RAPIDE. Deploying on the road move with the A Sqn echelon, we headed out to Wainwright with the task of supervising the safe conduct of level 5 combat team attacks.

Upon arriving in Wainwright on April 20, we joined our fellow 5 GBMC safety personnel in the aptly named Camp RAVEN. We found ourselves away from the hustle and bustle of the main camp yet not too far for the occasional "shower" (read: poutine run).

The first few days of the exercise provided us with valuable range recce time as well as a chance to test the mettle of our new TAPVs. Crewing the TAPV provided us all with valuable insight into this new platform and gave Capt Matt "Don’t let me nap" Shumka a valuable opportunity to practice his French while crew commanding. Once the ranges began on 24 April (following a brief spat of haybox-induced food poisoning), we quickly found ourselves busy monitoring rapid and complex level 5 combat team attacks. With attacks being conducted during both day and night, the TAPV drivers, such as Tpr Jess "that hole doesn't look too deep" Blair, benefited greatly from a complex driving experience. Lessons on TAPV mobility (and subsequent recovery) were quickly learned during the first night serial. Safety staff members, including myself, also benefited greatly from observing the various combat team attack methods.

With attacks running late into the night, we took advantage of our off-days to catch up on rest (an effort often hampered by a robust heater that ensured our tent remained at 40C at all times). Only once Cpl Justin "Don't these things have A/C" Wood made some adjustments did we finally manage to sleep comfortably. A sleep interrupted rather abruptly one afternoon by the strong smell of burning grass and a wall of dense smoke. Using what appeared to be the glorious, fiery end of Camp RAVEN as a chance for a quick trip to the main camp, we returned relieved to find our camp untouched thanks to fireguards and an astute AEV Ram crew.

Overseeing a total of 10 combat team attack iterations, we returned to Edmonton strengthened with a greater understanding of combat team attacks, more proficient at TAPV driving & crew commanding, and proud to have supported A Sqn in its outstanding performance on the ranges.