Page 264 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
P. 264

 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (1 PPCLI)
After a busy 2017, the soldiers of 1 PPCLI came back from Christmas leave to participate in Exercise STRONG CONTENDER, a week long exercise involving all units of the 1st Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (1 CMBG) competing against each other in numerous sports. The Battalion’s hockey team competed relentlessly, ultimately placing second against the Third Battalion, PPCLI. The game was a tough loss but the soldiers played extremely well and nothing more could have been asked from them on the ice.
The start of 2018 also saw the return of over 200 soldiers who had deployed and laid the ground work for the Canadian contingent of the enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battle Group in Latvia as part of Op REASSURANCE Rotation 0. During this tour, members of the battalion worked tirelessly over extended hours. Working with foreign countries was a challenge as standardizing how the different countries interacted made for interesting times; however, the battalion successfully deployed, estab- lished routines, and made it well aware that this multinational Battle Group was Canadian run. All the soldiers returned with their heads held high and can say that they had achieved the mission they had set out to accomplish; to deter Russian aggression in Eastern Europe. As soldiers returned, they were sent on well-deserved post-deployment leave to spend time with family and friends.
Following the redeployment of the Headquarters and Bravo Company of the First Battalion from the eFP in Latvia, the unit went on an extended period of leave, returning to work in the March time-frame. The unit immediately began training in earnest, preparing to start on the next road to war with essential Primary Combat Function (PCF) courses, while also preparing for the transition of Commanding Officers. This significant activity occurred on 15 June 2018, and saw Lieutenant-Colonel L.W. Rutland hand over the unit to Lieutenant-Colonel J.D Schaub..
Concurrent to the preparations for the change of command ceremony, Combat Support Company participated in the 1 CMBG soldier skills compe- tition, Exercise HERACLES RAM, as well as sending a team to compete in the Bisley Shooting Compe- tition in the United Kingdom, scoring very well in both events and positively representing the Regiment both at home and abroad.
In keeping with the tradition of the Army in western Canada, 1 PPCLI also sent Charlie Company provide aide to the people of British Columbia during the annual snow melt in May; which resulted in severe flooding. Charlie Company’s efforts to protect Canadian homes from the rising water levels over a period of 11 days was a great success, resulting in their redeployment home to Edmonton and a few days off to make up for the loss of their May long weekend. All in all, Spring 2018 represented a busy period for the First Battalion, with soldiers deploying across the country in support of summer individual training, soldier competitions and domestic emergencies. Leading in to the summer, there were a significant number of postings for the Officers and NCOs of the battalion, creating a new cadre of leaders going into the Road to High Readiness, all eager and ready to face the challenges ahead.
In October, Alpha Company deployed to Fort Greely, Alaska, to participate in Exercise ARCTIC ANVIL. The two-week long exercise was to test 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team (1 SBCT), 25th Infantry Division’s war-fighting ability. The Canadian contingent was comprised of Alpha Company, 1 PPCLI, a Forward Observation Officer team from 1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (1 RCHA), and medics and maintainers in support. Our role was to supplement 3-509 Airborne Infantry as the exercise’s enemy force, acting as the mechanized element of an otherwise dismounted and motorized force.
While the primary focus of the exercise was to test and develop 1 SBCT, working with the Americans provided opportunities to further our own tactical skill-set. Communication with other enemy force elements was often difficult, making coordination for passage of lines, reinforcement, and troop movement challenging. In spite of this, Alpha Company conducted many offensive and defensive
       Alpha Company, 1 PPCLI,
in Alaska while fighting as enemy force against 1 SBCT
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