Cpl Justin Park’s Ex MAPLE RESOLVE
By Cpl Justin Park
For 3rd Troop, B Squadron, Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE started with four days in a squadron harbour, where you lie awake listening to UAVs and contemplating a choice; you can either battle your way through thorns to get enough privacy to use the bathroom, or you can try and do a dismounted patrol to the blue rockets. If you choose the second option, you could stumble upon a section of British soldiers guarding rations on a road for a very long time. Then, after four days, it was time to move out of the harbour and take the fight to A Squadron and the Strathcona Battle Group. For me, it was time to make my move to the brigade supply area and wait for my “crew shower valve” (a common theme on this exercise) which had blown on my tank. Time was passed waiting for my comrades to “die” so I could receive news of the battle, while in between there was a steady diet of Hygaard Sandwiches and Standing-To. On the rare opportunities I had to converse with my “dead” friends, stories emerged of great feats of courage such as C/S 21C fighting enemy tanks outnumbered, 23A saving a Van Doo platoon from impending doom, or Cpl Ben Kroker brewing coffee with a Jet Boil during a jockey without spilling a drop. Not all was sunshine and cupcakes in the brigade supply area however, the non-stop pack run-ups and the finicky coffee maker made for long grueling days as I waited for my turn to join the battle. I finally broke free of the unending idleness of rear area life on the day of the final attack. B Squadron was able to eliminate almost all of the enemy forces before even crossing the bridge on the way to the objective, which made for a smooth and final attack that destroyed the enemy once and for all.
We then transitioned into Exercise REFLEXE RAPIDE which allowed the Troop to hone its abilities by practicing breaches and advancing onto objectives using live-fire. It truly gave us the ability to show off how much damage a tank can deal. It was a great experience for everyone, as many of the soldiers had not done this before. It also gave us a chance to show some Van Doos around our tanks, proving to them that tanks are cooler any day.
Although the work never stopped during both of these exercises, the journey and the destination were both worth the effort; a fact that became clear over some cold beers at the end of exercise smoker.