Army reserve soldiers from the 20th Independent Field Battery of the Royal Canadian Artillery conducted military training exercises in Lethbridge on Sunday.
“We need to train these troops how to operate with a real enemy force so that they have an understanding of how they need to react when it’s not just a training,” said Maj. Nick Barber, commanding officer of the 20th Independent Field Battery.
“This type of a scenario is not uncommon. When we deployed to Afghanistan, a lot of our deployment had to be in urban situations, at least moving through cities, so understanding how to operate and hide these big vehicles and these guns in an area (where) you don’t have trees or that cover is very important,” Barber added.
As real and intense as these exercises are, a majority of the reservists involved also work or study full-time. Lt. Ansil Norman is putting his books down and picking up his rifle to take part in these exercises.
“It’s certainly a challenge, personally,” he said. “I stayed up all night and the other night running around all weekend. I’m going to go home and immediately dive into my biology textbooks for some tests this week so it’s definitely very challenging to do but also very rewarding.”
Still, despite his busy schedule, the challenge of being both a soldier and a student is one Norman is more than willing to take on.
“It’s my way of giving back to Canada for all the quality of life and luxuries that I have, and I’m happy to do it,” he added.
Military exercises like these happen several times a year, allowing soldiers to maintain the proper training for possible deployment.