Reservists’ summer training combines unique contributions, points of view: 3rd Canadian Division

Article / September 7, 2016 / Project number: 16-0211

Note: to view additional photos, click the photo under Image Gallery.

Each year, Canadian Army Reservists participate in summer collective training, which is designed to prepare teams, units and other elements to perform specific tasks. These exercises take place in various locations across Canada. They foster greater collaboration and enable the Canadian Army’s well-led and well-trained soldiers to expand their individual and combined combat experience and share knowledge with their peers. For some participants, these exercises represent a first opportunity to witness how the combat arms – a team that includes Armour, Artillery, Infantry and Engineers – work together during an operation.

This is the second in a series of question-and-answer articles that describe select perspectives captured from the various trades that make up a combined arms team. Each soldier offers a unique contribution based on his or her expertise and each will take away different lessons learned from their own experience.

By Natalie Flynn, Army Public Affairs with files from 3rd Canadian Division Public Affairs

Wainwright, Alberta — In the following interviews, an infantry platoon warrant officer and an infantry private describe their contributions to Exercise WESTERN DEFENDER 2016.

The Infantry Platoon Warrant Officer

Rank: Warrant Officer

Name: Joseph Cullen

Unit: The Royal Westminster Regiment of Canada, New Westminster, British Columbia

Job Title: Platoon Warrant Officer

Trade: Infantry

Q1: What is your trade and role during Exercise WESTERN DEFENDER 2016?

A2: My trade is infantry and during Exercise WESTERN DEFENDER 2016 I’m a Platoon Warrant Officer for Alpha Company.

Q2: What is your mission in this exercise scenario?

A2: This afternoon we’re going to head to seize a bridgehead and a fort.

Q3: What are you hoping to gain from this training?

A3: For me, this is the first time I’ve been a Platoon Warrant Officer in a brigade-level exercise, so there a lot of learning experiences here for me during Exercise WESTERN DEFENDER 2016. Also making sure all of my guys – and all of the trades and the different roles that we’re doing – are getting more proficient. 

Q4: How valuable is the training, when dealing with combined arms?

A4: Oh, it’s extremely valuable. Certainly, when we have time to see what the other trades are doing, such as what the reconnaissance squadrons are doing, what the engineers are doing and how they can help us on the battlefield, it’s invaluable.  

The Infantry Private

Rank: Private

Name: Ryan Plett

Unit: The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, Vancouver, British Columbia

Job Title: Infanteer

Trade: Infantry

Q1: What is your trade and role during Exercise WESTERN DEFENDER 2016?

A1: My trade is infantry and during this exercise my role is to close with and destroy the enemy and whatever other tasks the platoon commander has in mind.

Q2: What is your mission in this exercise scenario?

A2: Right now, we’re just securing a bridge, so that the MPs can go up and conduct their vehicle check point.

Q3: What are you hoping to gain from this training?

A3: This represents a realistic training scenario and I hope to gain more experience.

Q4: How valuable is the training, when dealing with combined arms?

A4: This is a brand new experience for me and I hope that it will help broaden my view and give me more experience in working with other trades.

More than 1,100 Reservists from 3rd Canadian Division participated in Exercise WESTERN DEFENDER 2016, a summer training exercise that took place in Wainwright, Alberta  and Dundurn, Saskatchewan from August 14 to 23, 2016.

Exercises like Ex WESTERN DEFENDER allow Reservists to maintain a high level of readiness, ensuring the Canadian Army is always ready to support domestic and international operations.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Date modified: