Written by Lieutenant Alan Vincent, RMR
Westmount, QC – 25 January 2015: The sun had not yet risen from behind the horizon and its urban silhouette as soldiers began to arrive at the RMR’s Westmount armoury. A certain level of tenseness could be felt as they entered in to the building and began lining up to salute the memorial plaque as well as sign the pay and meal sheet for the day’s training. The primary source of that stress was Sgt Oidi pacing the parade square in his highly shined combat boots, neatly bloused combat pants, slicked back hair and most noticeably his abnormal black shirt. What he was wearing is a status symbol of sorts; he wore a black long sleeved shirt adorned with the iconic symbol of the Close Quarter Combat Instructor. The day was going to be a long and physical one for the soldiers of The Royal Montreal Regiment.
That is how the second day of training began as part of Exercise LYNX DÉBUTANT that took place from the 23rd to the 25th of January 2015. The aim of the exercise was to foster the soldiers warrior spirit, promote retention and emphasize the importance of physical fitness by exposing the soldiers to well supervised, safely conducted and intense close quarter combat instruction. The soldiers were visibly nervous and excited, and rightly so as they were brought back to an intensity of instruction that most had not seen since their basic courses. A rigorous physical fitness session began the second day of training and served as a way of refreshing some of what they had learned the previous night. They transitioned from push kicks to leg raises, palm strikes to squat position, all in an effort to not only emphasize physical fitness but to purposely tire them out for what was to come.
The four Close Quarter Combat Instructors (CQCIs) circled the soldiers like carrion birds do a carcass, relentlessly correcting and shouting orders. Passers-by were sure to hear the cries of, “get your guard up” interspersed with the mandatory war cries that were required from each soldier as they executed the movements. Instruction transitioned to practical application and the soldiers, albeit tired, were up to the challenge. They aggressively met each other in one on one pugil combat before being exposed to scenarios designed to test their situational awareness and escalation of force habits. The exercise culminated in a challenging gauntlet that consolidated all that they had learned throughout the weekend.
It is not often that members of the Regiment have the opportunity to stray outside of the normal syllabus of your standard Primary Reserve Infantry material of hides, patrol bases, attacks, patrolling and the like, so Exercise LYNX DÉBUTANT was a welcome change. The soldiers were challenged both mentally and physically and emerged stronger for it. All that remains for the soldiers is to apply their newly minted warrior spirit to the rest of the training year’s activities. With this in mind the soldiers of The Royal Montreal Regiment stride confidently towards their next objective with their heads held high and for certain, their guard up!