BCDs Train Next Generation of Recce Troopers

Photos by Pte Daniel Pereira

DP1 CRMN 0049

By: MCpl Doug Younger, RHQ

Throughout the summer, the British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught’s Own) and British Columbia Dragoons conducted a DP1 Recce Crewman out of the Vernon Armouries and Chilcotin Training Area. Between the two regiments, 18 Privates arrived for the course. Having completed their BMQ and BMQ-L, the soldiers were eager to learn the basic skills of a recce crewman. The culmination of this training came with the final seven day Field Training Exercise (FTX) over the week of 12 to 18 August. Deep within the mountainous interior of B.C., and a good distance from cell reception or running water, the candidates learned what it truly meant to execute the tasks of armoured recce in an isolated environment. Whether going to ground in tactical hides or observation posts during the night, or out recceing a route, area, point, or zone (RAPZ) trace during the day, the candidates of DP1 0049 demonstrated their ability to carry out armoured recce standard operating procedures, basic fieldcraft skills, and the priorities of work within a hide, harbour, or leaguer. Each candidate had to accomplish these tasks within the three positions a DP1 qualified crewman can occupy in a combat vehicle: gunner, driver, or observer. When not carrying out these tasks, the candidates of DP1 0049 received refresher and familiarization training on map and compass navigation, dismounted fieldcraft, and surveillance, target acquisition, and night observation (STANO) equipment.

As the days progressed and the candidates’ practical abilities improved, the course staff introduced more complex and technical scenarios where each crewman’s abilities were further tested and developed. This most notably took the form of complicated engagements with enemy force while both on the move during mounted recce operations, and static when hunkering down in a hide or harbour. Communication, SOPs, and hide discipline were hammered home during stand to’s, enemy probes, and full blown attacks. By the last day and night of the FTX, the future crewmen tested their new knowledge and skills by executing one of the most demanding and important recce tasks, the observation post (OP). During this phase, the crews employed both mounted and dismounted skills as they moved tactically to their positions within an OP screen line, established OP bases and started their routine, conducted dismounted recce patrols of the local area, and carried out the responsibilities and tasks of a crewman within an OP. After a surprisingly cold and fall-like night, the candidates completed their final mission marking the end of not just their FTX, but also the long and challenging process of becoming a fully qualified soldier in the Canadian Army Reserve.

With the completion of this course, there are 18 newly qualified Troopers within 39 CBG eager to continue their development and bring the fight to the enemy. With the introduction of the Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle (TAPV) to armoured reserve regiments, the opportunity for a crewman to progress his or her career beyond their basic trade training is readily available. Some have already taken taskings with the Armoured School in Gagetown, New Brunswick, as QM staff or opposing force, while others will take the next step in their career by participating in one of the local upcoming TAPV Driver/Maintenance courses. Whatever their path, the 18 newest members of the black hat family can look forward to parading as fully qualified soldiers come September, and eagerly look forward to the next bound as Army Reservists.