B Squadron Winter Gun Camp
Lieutenant Matthew Hoffart
From 28 February - 7 March 2014, B Squadron deployed approximately 50 soldiers to support the 24 students on the spring gun camp held in Wainwright, AB. The gun camp unofficially kicked off with the departure of the advance party on 28 February in order to set up the range, under the supervision of Sergeant John “I LOVE off-roading” Goobie, before the remainder of the course arrived on 2 March. Faced with deep snow and sub-arctic temperatures, the advance party combined hard work and an innovative use of their vehicles to ensure the range was setup on time.
The arrival of the students and the remaining soldiers on 2 March saw the tanks moved onto the firing line at Range 16 with firing commencing the following morning. 105mm and 120mm rounds were fired down range as students on both the Leopard C2 and Leopard 2 Crew Commander gunnery courses validated themselves as tankers (even some members of Recce Sqn!). Static day and night shoots were only interrupted to allow the instructors to briefly warm up, except for Warrant Officer Chris “Check out my beaver fur gloves” Zubkowski.
The range kicked off slowly, due to some mechanical issues with both the tanks and the support vehicles (likely resulting from all mechanical components freezing together). Despite the delay, the soldiers’ hard work and perseverance put the course ahead of schedule within a few days. The soldiers also had the opportunity to meet officials from CENOVUS Energy, who fully embraced the experience of being a soldier for a day. As they arrived on the range, out guests were treated to an impressive sight as the students conducted their battle runs as part of their qualification. Under the watchful eyes of the Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Paul Peyton, Regimental Sergeant Major Chief Warrant Officer Antony Batty, B Squadron Officer Commanding Major Clayton Gardner and Squadron Sergeant Major Master Warrant Officer Kevin King, the course ended on a high note.
On Friday, 7 March, range tear-down commenced and soldiers began to redeploy back to Edmonton. Much to the relief and satisfaction of the Course Officer, Lieutenant Matt “I’m Free!” Hoffart and Course Warrant Officer, Sergeant John Goobie, all 24 students successfully completed their qualifications just prior to heading out on Exercise COLD STEELE.