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Summer’s minimal manning gives the Regiment’s members a chance to attend career and leadership courses at Canadian Force bases across Canada, while others may take the time to rest from the typically demanding responsibilities of a Primary Reservist. As the Regiment returns to regular garrison duties, it is essential to ensure that all the troops have maintained their critical skills, regardless of how they spent their summers.

Exercise Centurion Duke was an opportunity for members of the British Columbia Regiment to acquaint and develop their core soldiering skills and marksmanship. In cooperation with the 15th Field Artillery, the British Columbia Regiment ran a grenade range, a Personal Weapons Test level 3(PWT3), a series of Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) warfare stress tests, and a Battle Fitness Test (BFT) at the General Volkes Range in Chilliwack, BC.

Following a busy civilian work week, BCRs spent their Friday evening loading kit and preparing their weapons for the range, readying themselves for a long day of skills testing on Saturday. The PWT assess a soldier’s marksmanship at three different levels, with the PWT3 being the most challenging. After zeroing the C7 service rifles, troops began their test with a 100 metre dash before dropping to shoot at 300 metre targets, then dashing and shooting again at the 200 metre, 100 metre, and 50 metre marks. Scores were calculated based on rounds hit on a series of varied targets from several distances. BCRs displayed trademark professionalism on the range, with many troops scoring above 40 and securing a Marksman designation on the test.

The CBRN training had troops operating in a saturated chemical environment while wearing constraining CBRN suits, gloves, boots and gas masks. Overcoming the shocking effects of CS Gas, troops completed masking drills as well as decontamination and canister changing procedures. During all of these drills troops were required to jog, squat and perform other physically demanding tasks, while battling the restrictions of the suit and the overwhelming shock of the CS Gas.

The exhaustion of the day was evident in the grenade range bunker. Waiting troops used the respite to take a quick nap, despite the occasional thundering of grenades a few metres away and the rain of rocks on shrapnel on the roof. Everyone enjoyed the grenade range, especially those who have never thrown a grenade. Quoting from Private Spooner, “The best part about this exercise was the grenade range, I love throwing those suckers.” The grenade range overall was a success everyone had fun,

Sunday concluded the Exercise with a load-bearing march, or BFT. While Saturday’s weather was quite wet, Sunday was bright and beautiful, keeping morale high throughout the march. The successful completion of the BFT was a great capstone to the weekend Ex, with BCRs proving their consistent professionalism and a high level of skill throughout the weekend. This display of critical competency suggests a great upcoming training year for the largest Recce Squadron the Regiment has seen in many years.

Written by Tpr Pereyaslavsky

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