Soldiers practice basic survival skills in Porcupine Hills
LETHBRIDGE – About 40 soldiers put their military skills to the test in the Porcupine Hills forest over the weekend.
Regimental Command Post Officer, Captain John McDonald said that while out in the forest they had several tasks to complete.
“One is to confirm our winter warfare skills; our ability to survive in a winter situation and we have perfect weather for it. Another, is to confirm our ability to navigate by map and compass and by GPS,” McDonald said. “We are going to conduct a vehicle checkpoint training drill as well; just to confirm our skills and how to recognize a threat and how to search a vehicle.”
One of those taking part in the training was Kingsley Mann, who has been in the Canadian Armed Forces for nine years. He is now a bombardier with the 20th Independent Field Battery, based in Lethbridge.
Mann said it’s a brotherhood bond that helps the soldiers get through the training, and he enjoys teaching the newer members tricks and tips on basic skills.
“At first I thought it was hard, but now this is like a holiday away from home,” he said.
McDonald said it’s important to get the men and women outside practising those basic soldier skills that they have been learning in a classroom setting.
“We can talk in a classroom all we want about how ‘this is a map and north is this way,'” McDonald said. “But until you disorient someone, put them into a situation where they’re not used to, you’re never going to really know yourself whether you can actually read a map.”
“You get to come out here and dress all cool, and go out in the bush. We got great friends who become brothers, so the brotherhood definitely comes up there and I wouldn’t change it for the world,” said Mann.
Mann said that the military is a trade that he continues to enjoy every day and that anyone who thinks it might interest them, should talk to a recruitment officer.
“I think that the hardest part for anyone in the military is actually putting your name on that dotted line… the rest of it after that is just easy.”
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