Combat Support (TALON) Company Patrician
Lieutenant Izaak Koolman CD,
When we joined Combat Support Company 1 Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI), they had no idea the changes the Cavalry were going to inflict on their lives. WO Ayrton “Chops” Balfour and I brought a team of sixteen Strathconas, three members of the Fort Garry Horse, and Cpl James “Berry” Huckle of the Saskatchewan Dragoons into Combat Support Company (Cbt Spt Coy) lines in September 2022, which immediately raised the price of cognac and silver polish in the Area of Operations. Within days we adapted to the ways of our infantry brethren, staying in sweatpants until noon and spending two thirds of our pay on plate carriers. The members of Reconnaissance (Recce) Platoon were welcoming, allowing us to stable the horses in their LAV barn and giving me free reign of the Recce Platoon Commander Office, in which I immediately hung a couple of pennants and a picture of Sir Samuel Steele, as is tradition. Captain Alex “Not Tom” Snell (RIFLES) began immediately to acclimatize us to the ways of the British infantry, abolishing standing at attention in office doors and the use of the word “Sir” outside of the parade ground.
Upon deploying to Wainwright for Ex PATRICIA WOLVERINE, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Platoon began to demonstrate the critical capabilities that the Cavalry are known for, despite significant maintenance challenges affecting most of the TAPVs. There was a concerning moment when one of the TAPVs experienced mechanical malfunctions while hurtling around a hairpin corner with MCpl Fedor “Double-Agent” Reymers in command, which luckily required only some minor dry-cleaning of the seats and a short Maintenance and Recover Team visit to remedy. The Cbt Spt Coy camp on PATRICIA WOLVERINE soon resembled a snow-covered shanty town, with MCpl Jesse “Mom” Maw driving troops out of the stores tent with a broom and implied threats, and the command group lighting their butt can on fire every night during the daily coordination. Lt Philip “Hardy Boy” Dohm experienced the finest pizza Wainwright had to offer, and may recover eventually with care extensive medical treatment.
During the early weeks of the exercise, WO Craig “Pops” Popovich’s team demonstrated sneaking, peeking, and other good recce drills, and then watched in horror as the Cavalry conducted reconnaissance by throwing a styrofoam airplane into the sky and then making coffee. Sgt Jason “Snipercon” Hodgson and Sgt Adam “Geebo” Gee showed us their fancy sniper tablets, which do all the stuff a map does but require a battery (an exciting development). Sgt Johnny “Hail Satan” Mitchell was right at home in Recce Platoon, where moustache wax is mandatory and pockets are for hands. We learned such fine Patricia maxims as “plan early, plan twice” and “OOKAAY!”, and came to the unfortunate conclusion that not every sergeant major’s LAV has a barbeque in it, which was catastrophic for morale.
By the end of PATRICIA WOLVERINE, ISR Platoon had become one with the battalion, drinking three to five white monsters a day from WO Mike “Glizzy-Warden” Emslie’s canteen and refusing to wear issued clothing except under duress. We completed the confirmatory exercise with elan and zeal, demonstrating to the Brigade Commander how to correct artillery onto your own position in the blowing snow, and only forgetting where our own linkup point was once. We returned from the field with only minor frostbite, and in the finest traditions of the Cavalry returned to work the next day at 0730 for a parade. ISR Platoon arrived in Latvia in early December to take over as the Battlegroup Reconnaissance Platoon for Roto 23-01.