Ex WESTERN CREWMAN 2017 Overview
By: Tpr SJ Kelly, Recce Sqn
In late April, Second Troop from Recce Sqn headed across the Rockies to support Ex WESTERN CREWMAN (WC) 17, a Primary Reserve Exercise designed to train units from 39 and 41 Canadian Brigade Groups. Recce Sqn personnel were employed as mentors and OPFOR through a range of stands including that focused on mounted and dismounted skill sets. Participating units came from across Western Canada and included The British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught’s Own), The South Alberta Light Horse, The King’s Own Calgary Regiment (RCAC), and The British Columbia Dragoons. Ex WC 17 not only confirmed basic soldier and crewman skills for the participating units but also fostered cooperation between the units and soldiers involved.
The reservist personnel were split into two composite troops, and spent the weekend progressing through three stands, including a route recce, dismounted patrolling, and a screen line. At each stand, the reserve group was accompanied through the Battle Procedure process by senior Recce Sqn personnel who acted as instructors and mentors for the reserve soldiers. For example, during the dismounted patrolling stand, Recce Sqn personnel walked alongside the recce patrols, prompting and guiding them throughout. At the same time, other Recce Sqn personnel acted as OPFOR to either ambush the patrols or guard an objective that the patrol had to cloverleaf. Meanwhile, in the screen line, reservists tested their skills in an attempt to observe a staged meeting where one OPFOR group sold a bomb to another.
After every station, a comprehensive AAR was conducted, which was a critical part of the exercise. It gave Recce Sqn a chance to disseminate important points to the reservists, while confirming the lessons learned for both reserve personnel and Recce Sqn OPFOR. By the time End Ex was called on Sunday, Ex WC 17 had proved to be both an invaluable training opportunity and a unique chance to enhance inter-unit operability.