Training for infantry and loving it: a boots-on-the-ground account

Article / June 14, 2016 / Project number: 15-0157

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

Gagetown, New Brunswick — Each day on course brought new surprises while I was a candidate on the Development Period 1 Infantry (DP1 Infantry) course at 5th Canadian Division Support Base (5 CDSB), Gagetown, held in the summer of 2015.

On this course, I learned how to become an infanteer and was honoured to be named the top candidate in my serial.  My training mainly covered physical fitness, weapons and tactics.  There were classroom learning periods, ranges and field craft training in the bush. The course was very exciting. We had lots of hands-on time with the weapon systems we have learned, including the C-9 Light Machine Gun and the C-6 General Purpose Machine Gun as well as the C-13 grenade.

Some of the biggest challenges on course for me were being able to stay awake for some of the long hours that we were required to remain alert and be able to do our jobs. It’s a challenge to train yourself to fight though the fatigue and pain and keep performing the task or mission that you are on. Once you are accustomed to this, you begin to enjoy pushing yourself to become the best you can be and perform at the highest level that you can.

One of the most exciting experiences on the course was being able to throw live C-13 grenades. When you’re first handed the grenade, the realization comes to you that you are holding a powerful explosive in your hand. When the very first grenade went off, it made a loud boom and I felt the back blast hit me.

I now know why I joined the Army Reserve: it’s the greatest job in the world. Not only am I helping to protect the people of Canada, but I am also making some of the best friends you could ask for, striving to be in peak physical condition, and receiving the best education I possibly can. I am studying Kinesiology at the University of New Brunswick and being an infanteer ties in nicely with my studies.

I know that someday in the future I will have a far more thrilling story to tell as I make my way through the ranks. I joined knowing nothing, fell in love with the job and plan to try and learn every little thing that I can so that I hopefully will enjoy a long career with many tours.

Who knows what the future will bring?

By Private Mark Stewart, The Royal New Brunswick Regiment, Gagetown

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