LdSH(RC) Freedom of the Town of Gibbons
By Lt Stefan Wawrzyn
22 October 2010
A brisk, morning on the 2nd of October in the town of Gibbons, saw soldiers of the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) moving about in DEUs and CADPAT, preparing rifles and armoured vehicles for a parade to mark the honour of receiving the Freedom of the Town of Gibbons. This small town approximately 25 minutes North of CFB Edmonton is a place that many Strathconas call home. Now, it is a special place where Strathconas hold a ceremonial trust.
With such an honour bestowed upon the Regiment it was made sure that all available Strathcona’s would be present. The Strathcona contingent was commanded by the Regimental Second-in-Command, Major John Cochrane. The soldiers of B Squadron, augmented by Reconnaissance Squadron, made up the 100-man Guard for the Guidon, all commanded by Major Mike Onieu. A Troop of Coyote Reconnaissance vehicles and several tanks were commanded by personnel from Reconnaissance Squadron and C Squadron respectively, while various other echelon vehicles were paraded by Headquarters Squadron. Finally, the Strathcona Mounted Troop, lead by Captain Dan Gray, showcased the proud tradition that the Regiment keeps.
At approximately 10 o’clock in the morning, the Strathconas stepped off onto the main street of Gibbons led by the Regimental 2IC in a Leopard C2 tank with the Guard right behind. The ceremonial exchange then occurred with the Mayor of Gibbons, Mr. Bill Nimmo, who stressed the great honour of being able to host soldiers from the Edmonton Garrison in such a manner. On the order from the Regimental 2IC, the guard fixed bayonets and the entire contingent marched and rolled passed the front of Town Hall with respects given to the mayor and town of Gibbons while several hundred people watched on.
Following the conclusion of the march past, the town gathered behind the Gibbons Arena to witness a few other presentations from the Regiment to the town of Gibbons, including a special presentation of a Regimental pennant with signatures from Strathconas who had served in Afghanistan to the Gibbons chapter of the Canadian Legion. The day concluded with an excellent musical ride performance by the Strathcona Mounted Troop. As all of the members of the Strathcona’s boarded the buses or mounted their vehicles for the ride back to the Garrison, a reinvigorated sense of pride was felt through the gracious outpouring of support by the people of Gibbons and the new honour that was bestowed upon the Regiment.