BC Dragoons and RM Rangers drop in to VMC for dismounted training on Ex Ranger Dragoon 2023

MCpl Aidan Rivard drops off the helicopter skid at Vernon Military Camp on Exercise Ranger Dragoon 2023.

Exercise Ranger Dragoon 2023 was the latest combined arms exercise between the British Columbia Dragoons and Rocky Mountain Rangers. Running from 14-16 April 2023 at the Vernon Military Camp, Exercise Ranger Dragoon 2023 built upon previous combined arms exercises to provide stand-based training in order to complete individual battle task standards (IBTS). Operating in a dismounted environment, combined sections of both British Columbia Dragoons and Rocky Mountain Rangers ran through training on dismounted patrolling & land navigation, combat first aid, and countering mines and improvised explosive devices.  

Utilizing traditional navigational tools like map and compass allowed the British Columbia Dragoons to practice dismounted point navigation, which is atypical for the British Columbia Dragoons when mounted in light armoured vehicles, where dead reckoning is commonly utilized. A competency in traditional navigation tools compared to GPS and digital technologies also permits training realisms when operating in non-permissive environments that may limit electronic emissions or signals due to jamming threats or electronic intelligence collection. Despite being dismounted, and utilizing the entirety of the Vernon Military Camp, most combined sections were able to quicky locate multiple waypoint markers on what became 18-22km days in a variety of weather conditions. The culminating activity was unequivocally the rappelling training provided by the Rocky Mountain Ranger, leading up to the rappel off the 60′ helicopter skid atop the rappel tower at Vernon Military Camp. 

According to LCol Waaga, BCD Commanding Officer, “It was a great weekend of training and It’s always beneficial when we get the opportunity to work with other regiments and branches within the brigade group, and to ensure were meeting the baseline requirements of IBTS. A refamiliarization of those dismounted tactics is going to be helpful for both Regiment’s members going to Ex Cougar Siege, as there is a good baseline of shared knowledge and an understanding of how each branch works.” 

Both the British Columbia Dragoons and Rocky Mountain Rangers will be familiar with working with each other in the combined arms context as they both attend the 39 Canadian Brigade Group’s Cougar Siege Brigade Exercise in May at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Tacoma WA. 

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