HEADQUARTERS SQUADRON, JANUARY & FEBUARY 2008 – From the comforts of the office to the frigid wild.
Cpl Jay Phillips
The beginning of 2008 was a very busy time for Headquarters Squadron. With the normal support of the Regiment’s activities, the CO’s inspection, and running a Basic Winter Warfare and Light Over Snow Vehicle (aka snowmobile) courses, everybody in Headquarters Squadron was kept very busy.
In anticipation of the CO’s inspection, the AO and the Squadron clerks spearheaded a mass effort to verify that all the UERs and Pers files in the Squadron were up to date. At the same time, the troops in the Squadron were busy making sure the rest of the lines were in tip top shape for the inspection.
The advance party for Ex WINTER TREK departed Edmonton on Sunday, February 3rd, and headed out to Hinton to set up base camp at Gregg Lake in the William H. Switzer Provincial Park. The beginning of the exercise went smoothly as we pulled into the camp where a conservation officer (accordingly nicknamed “Ranger Rick”) was waiting for our arrival. We proceeded to park our vehicles and set up mod tents and the kitchen trailer. The next day the rest of the Squadron showed up, and the tent group toboggans were picked up. After learning a lesson on the importance of packing a toboggan with the weight distributed correctly, we set up our arctic tents at the base camp for the the first night.
The next morning everybody was up early breaking camp and getting ready to move via snowshoe to our first biv site 2.5 km away. It was a very challenging march with deep snow, rucksacks, and full toboggans over hilly terrain. We arrived around 11:30 and proceeded to set up camp and get our lunch rations heated and eaten. That afternoon, half the troops went snowmobiling, and the other half went ice fishing. Wednesday started with a 5km snowshoe march, and then the two groups switched activities for the afternoon. Thursday evening, an end of exercise smoker was held, and the troops got to kick back and relax while eating some steak and seafood. All in all, it was an enjoyable and informative exercise, and the Squadron was fortunate enough to have the weather hold up for the entire week.
After returning from Ex WINTER TREK, a sports afternoon of cross-country skiing was held in order to finish the Basic Winter Warfare qualification and all the leadership was kept very busy summing up year-end paperwork and getting ready for the new fiscal year. The troops were busy helping the SQMS and QM put away all the exercise kit and cleaning weapons, as well as doing snow removal.
In all, it has been a very busy two months for Headquarters Squadron and we are looking forward to the arrival of spring and some warmer weather.