Ex Maple Guardian 0901, TF 3-09
3rd Tp, B Sqn
22 June 2009
On 22 May 09, the last major exercise for TF 3-09, Ex MAPLE GUARDIAN 0901, launched off. Many soldiers of B Squadron were anxious to find out how this Ex would unravel with 1 and 2 Troops in Germany for the Leopard 2 conversion course, leaving only SHQ and 3 Troop to be members of the primary training audience. No doubt, SHQ and 3 Troop would be busy. With operations, gate guard, run-up, and QRF on-going for two weeks, everybody had their share of hard work. Almost all the tanks deployed to Wainwright had implements on. Vehicles and weapons system were mounted up with sophisticated Cubic Weapons-Effects Simulator (WES) gear.
Dismounted personnel also had WES tactical vests and a laser sensor on their personal weapons. It was quite interesting to see the effects of battle with no live-fire involved. When soldiers got shot by the laser system, the sensor on the vests generated an appropriate injury to that soldier based on the trajectory of the laser and the range that laser was shot. In such scenarios, the casualty received first-aid treatment and had to be medically evacuated by Griffon or Blackhawk helicopters back to FOB Ma Sum’Ghar or Kandahar Airfield in Wainwrightistan. Even B Squadron’s tanks got exercised by incurring several “mobility” kills from such things as RPG attack and roadside bombs. To keep the exercise on the most realistic level, the crews on such mobility kills actually had to break track to simulate maintaining track and replacing road wheels.
During a QRF mission, soldiers of 3 Troop quickly learned that being on 30 minutes Notice-to-Move (NTM) could easily change to 5 minutes NTM in mere seconds! Ex MAPLE GUARDIAN 0901 was the most realistic training for Afghanistan, with villages and actors dressed up as Afghan National Army, Afghan Uniformed Police, insurgent suicide bombers, and actors even dressed up as innocent local nationals. With so many dynamic players in the battlefield, soldiers of the squadron had to be very vigilant with the use of our big guns in order to account for collateral damage. Overall, the Ex was good training. With this final confirmation exercise under our belts, soldiers of B Squadron are now looking forward to our very well deserved summer block leave.