Ex STEELE BEASTS (SB) ’23
After a three-year hiatus, members from Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) had the chance to escape Edmonton’s frigid February landscape and return to Texas for Ex STEELE BEASTS (SB) ’23. Once there, troop leaders Lt Liam “Space Drip” Misner, Capt Patrick “Too Slow” Braszak and Lt Ryan “On Duty” Tompsett would have their abilities tested in level three and four traces against the virtual Arianian horde. But first, crews would have to become acquainted with their new platforms.
A Squadron quickly adapted to the Abrams, while D Squadron jumped at the opportunity to fight Bradleys, which came equipped with excellent cross-simulated-country mobility, effective ranges of 3750m, hunter-killer systems, and Blue Force Tracker systems. Much to their credit, each crew was deemed ready to commence tactical training by 49, Capt Bryce “Righteous Cowboy Lightning” Simpson, after just two days of virtual ranges despite over half of the spots being filled by unqualified armoured crewman – in addition to two maintainers (MCpl Darren “Luggage-less” Page and Cpl Alexandre “Pong Champ” Godin), and a logistician (Cpl Mackenzie “This Is More Fun Than Supply” Perry).
That is not to say that all went off without a hitch, as troops encountered impassable bridges, danger bushes, a declining VOR rate (that, to be fair, would still be the envy of any contemporary armoured force), and a hectic net. Nevertheless, 49B, Capt Ali “Hot Mike” Mansour, was able to organize the chaos, and all troops would go on to be successfully validated.
The troop A’s also each had a crack at the enemy, with each demonstrating their prowess in the delay, counterattack and defensive. Notably, the Top Gun award was given to MCpl Joshua “Hydro Homie” Rourke, MCpl Willem “Toronto Time” Evers, WO Curtis “Beer O’clock” Romkey, and Cpl Riley “High Speed” Reynolds-Tack.
Training was not limited to the usual traces, however, as the Strathconas also had two chances to take out their cockroach-induced frustrations on one another in force-on-force combat. The first devolved into a carnage-filled game of king of the hill, with 41 left as the only intact force as their overly ambitious flanking maneuver ended just shy of the enemy rear, while the second saw some of the Regiment’s more junior members step up into troop leader and crew commander positions while the leadership hunkered down into the driver’s holes.
An international training exercise would not be complete without some support to the local economy. As soon as the weekend rolled around, the command team jettisoned off to the winding river and inviting patios of San Antonio, Cpl Parker “Dr. Pepper” Wing hurried to Waco, and other large groups of Canadians drove to Austin for a state-wide barbeque festival, and to Houston to visit the Space Force’s older relative NASA and swim the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
As a whole, Ex SB ‘23 went off without a hitch thanks in large part to the leadership of 49A, WO Derek Murdoch, and the entire EXCON team. To all the staff at the CCTC, and to 3rd Cav, Fort Hood, until next time. Yee-haw and perseverance.