Tactical Mobile Support training at Camp Aldershot: a real-life account

Article / August 3, 2016 / Project number: 15-0156

This is one of an ongoing series of first-person articles written by Reservists about their training in the Canadian Army.

Kentville, Nova Scotia — Any type of military operation, at home or overseas, requires capable motor vehicle operators to move personnel and equipment securely and in a timely fashion. This summer we were fortunate to join a band of eager candidates on the Mobile Support Equipment Operator (MSE Op) Qualification Level 3 (QL3) course at Camp Aldershot in Kentville, Nova Scotia.

Delivered by 5th Canadian Division Training Centre’s E Company, the MSE Op QL3 course required candidates to operate various standard military vehicles. These ranged in size from the General Motors Light Utility Vehicle Wheeled Militarized Commercial Off-The-Shelf or LUVW MilCOTS (a militarized version of the Chevy Silverado), to the five-ton Navistar Medium Support Vehicle System (MSVS) Tactical Truck.

What candidates do with these vehicles is serious but fun stuff. We were exposed to many different types of employment and environmental situations such as safe backing, field operations and road moves on provincial highways. In addition, we were instructed on different types of specialized equipment, like the material handling crane and the air brake systems of the MSVS, as well as how to maintain all equipment in serviceable condition.

While on the field portion of the course, we were trained on how to provide tactical transportation support for combat operations, performing the duties of an operator in a delivery point and taking defensive action to protect the area, vehicle and load.

The course started with instruction on applicable regulations, defensive driving, and dangerous goods transportation. Lessons were not always in a classroom. This was a very hands-on course, so it was not unusual for a lecture to take place on the parade square, vehicle compound or field training area.

Once the written tests were completed, we participated in a familiarization drive on base, on off-road tracks and trails in a controlled area, followed by both day and night drives with the LUVW MilCOTS and MSVS on provincial highways and urban areas. Then came the really fun part where we applied knowledge from our training during the field portion with tactical convoy drills.

While this was a mentally and physically demanding course, we were excited because we were gaining skills that are applied daily in both military and civilian settings – and we all looked forward to taking part in Exercise STRIDENT TRACER, during which we applied our training in an even more realistic setting with other Army trades from both the Canadian and United States armies.

By Private Ryan Young and Private Scott Fraser, 36 Service Battalion, Halifax

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