Article written by Corporal Alexander Loeven, RMR
Westmount, Quebec – 01 December 2018: From the 20 – 26 November 2018, the 34th Canadian Brigade Group sent two teams to participate in the Canadian Patrol Concentration (CPC) at CMTC Wainright, Alberta. Among these 16 soldiers were three members of the RMR: myself accompanied by Privates Hollingdrake and Randall-Coss.
The CPC consisted of a helicopter insertion into the field followed by a long range reconnaissance patrol, complete with a point recce objective, convoy segment and extract via Rope Bridge crossing a river. The CPC had total of 27 participating teams, including international teams from the UK, USA, Netherlands (two teams), Poland, Italy and Latvia. The rest of the teams were from various Canadian units.
The 34th Brigade teams succeeded in achieving every checkpoint within reasonable time. After being inserted at night by helicopter, the teams proceeded to the recce objective, navigating with only a map and compass. On the point recce objective, they succeeded in gleaning significant information from the enemy without being seen, despite the enemy being aggressive in their patrols around their position and being well covered within dead ground. The teams then continued their patrol, mindful of enemy presence throughout the area of operations the whole time. The patrols underwent a road move with friendly forces where they would be evaluated on their convoy drills and reaction to contact. Following this, marching continued to a rope crossing over semi-frozen river and finally, passage into friendly lines and extraction by LAV.
The patrols marched for a total of approximately 55 kilometers, and members were challenged by the consistent, relatively flat terrain, making navigation extremely difficult as the area lacked any major landmarks to assist with navigation. Added to the challenge was the early winter weather: temperatures generally fluctuated between -5 and -15 degrees Celsius. The teams had been in the field for over 40-hours without sleep.
I was tasked with assisting in navigation and pacing, while Privates Hollingdrake and Randall-Coss were both C9 gunners. All three members were sufficiently challenged by concentration and are proud to return to the unit with the experience and of course, bragging rights.