Page 109 - The Chapka 2016
P. 109

 Allied and Affiliated
Life in Northern Canada, Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) Year in Review – 2016
Your friends across the pond have been back at it again in 2016. Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) have gone through another year of sending soldiers across the globe on var- ious tasks, competed in various military skills competitions, and of course the yearly (and exceptionally snowy) training exercises at CFB Wainwright.
Weather in Edmonton is known to be exceptionally cold in the winter, so by the time March rolled around, a number of the Strathcona’s decided to seek warmer climates and migrated south to Fort Hood, Texas to train with the Americans during Exercise STEELE BEASTS. This event gave the Strathcona’s an invaluable chance to use the state-of-the-art American tank and AFV simulators, connect with and become closer to our Southern allies, and consume copious amounts of the American South’s famous brisket.
After enjoying the balmy weather of our southern neighbours, the Regiment jumped right back into its training cycle, kicking off with Exercise PROMETHIAN RAM in April. This gave an opportunity to the squadrons to showcase their gunnery skills on the range in Wainwright leaving in their wake flaming piles of wooden splinters. The training was made more complicated, however, by the sudden and violent onset of typical Canadian weather (ie. springtime snow resulting in rapidly falling temper- atures and visibility) forcing Leopard and Coyote vehicle crews to push the limits of their abilities to manoeuvre and engage tar- gets at night with the snow and fog reducing visibility to only just past one’s barrel.
With the live-fire training done, the weather gods of Wainwright had mercy and melted the snows in time for us to strap the Weapon Effects System equipment onto our vehicles and step off for the force-on-force portion of our spring training, Exer- cise MAPLE RESOLVE. The Strathcona led Battle Group led by our Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Josh Major began its push against our “West Isle” enemies and immediately ran into what appeared to be every anti-tank landmine produced from 1980-1989. Despite West Isle’s primary cash crop appar- ently being minefields, the Battle Group made rapid advances throughout the Exercise, keeping OPFOR on its heels.
After leading the Strathcona’s through one last field Exercise as its Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Josh Major passed the reigns over to the incoming Commanding Officer, Lieuten- ant Colonel Mark Lubiniecki on 23 June 2016. At the same time, CWO Tony Batty passed the baton off to CWO Robert Clarke as the new Regimental Sergeant Major. Although the troops expressed how much they were going to miss their old Com- manding Officer, and of course CWO Batty’s memorable British accent, the soldiers of the Regiment were excited and optimistic about the new command team.
The fall brought about a number of military skills competitions, notably including the Worthington Cup Competition which saw our team place first overall in a stellar performance against other Canadian armoured units as well as some of our international allies in everything from night navigation to tank gunnery. The Mountain Man Challenge further tested the endurance and re- silience of 22 of our soldiers, covering a 32km weighted ruck run, 3.2km portage, and a 10km canoe trip all finally topped off with a 5.6km ruck run. Although not able to grab the coveted first place spot, the Regimental team was the only one to have all 22 of its competitors finish without anyone backing out or giving up.
The year began to close, as it nearly always does, with another inexplicably frozen field exercise in Wainwright, Alberta where the squadrons had the ability to develop their junior officers and

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