Employers See Soldiers of The Queen’s Own Rifles in Action

Article / November 8, 2016 / Project number: c-ar-1109-ex-quick-rig

CFB TRENTON, Ont. – As the soldiers of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada shrugged on their parachute harnesses, weapons and packs, getting ready for a parachute drop as part of a late October field exercise, they had an audience.

A group of wide-eyed civilians listened intently as jump master Master Corporal Katherine Jessome barked out the pre-jump checklist, taking dozens of pictures on cell phones and whispering excitedly to each other.

“It’s like something out of a movie,” one woman whispered as the soldiers filed out of the ready room at the Canadian Army Advanced Warfare Centre (CAAWC) towards the waiting CC-130J Hercules. “I’m so impressed by these guys.”

The 21 civilians were employers and business leaders from the Greater Toronto Area, invited to watch the Queen’s Own Rifles one-day Exercise Quick Rig by the Canadian Forces Liaison Council (CFLC), the organization that promotes the value of reservists to civilian employers.

Commander Matt Davies, Ontario Liaison Officer for CFLC, said the October 29 visit to the Queen’s Own Rifles exercise was part of the council’s ExecuTrek Program, which gives employers, supervisors and human resources professionals a first-hand view of military training and the benefits that they can gain from that training – trade skills, management skills, values, work ethics and much more.

Commander Davies said that once employers see reservists in action, they see the advantages of the ongoing professional development that the military offers.

“When employers see reservists in their respective environments and engaged in their military jobs, those employers often comment to me about how professional these sailors, soldiers and aviators are,” he said. “Reservists love to explain the work they do in uniform. It leaves a strong impression on employers to see the self-confidence, leadership abilities and teamwork that we in the military bring to the table.”

The visitors to Exercise Quick Rig got a tour of the CAAWC, including its parachute training facilities, urban warfare and mountain operations centres. Then they were whisked to Drop Zone Hodgson at nearby Canadian Forces Detachment Mountain View to watch the Queen’s Own mount an air assault.

Although high winds precluded a parachute jump, the soldiers deployed from the Hercules landing nearby and assaulted an enemy position to rescue a group of ‘hostages’ – played by the civilian visitors.

David Graeme, owner of Belyea Brothers, employs no fewer than four reservists in his residential heating and cooling business. This was his first exposure to what his employees do on their Army weekends and he was amazed at what he saw.

“I’m so pleased they asked us to come,” he said, squinting up at the CC-130 Hercules roaring overhead at the end of the assault. "What I’ve seen here is so much camaraderie – it’s like a family and that’s very impressive.”

Mr. Graeme, who came on the exercise with his son and business partner Phil Graeme, said the soldiers’ skills and commitment only confirmed his decision to hire Army reservists. “These guys have a culture of getting things done and that’s obviously very important to a business.”

Lieutenant Colonel Sandi Banerjee, the Commanding Officer of the Queen’s Own Rifles, said he was more than happy to accommodate visitors to his regiment’s training. “This exercise is a great opportunity to show our soldiers’ employers and potential employers what they can do,” he said, during a break in the day-long exercise.

“It lets them see what they do, and how well they do it – it’s a chance to showcase all the skills that our soldiers and junior leaders have honed during our training.”

The executives concluded their day at a reception at the Trenton Officers' Mess where Colonel Colin Keiver, the commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) 8 Wing, and Lieutenant Colonel Spencer Selhi, commanding officer of 436 Transport Squadron, discussed the important contribution Reservists make in support of mission capability.

By Captain Chris Wattie, 32 Canadian Brigade Group Public Affairs

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