Sapper Jordan Weir was at the Trail Armouries this week preparing for the biggest military exercise of the year

Trail military exercises ready to roll

“The way the geography is set up provides the soldiers with challenging training.” - Cpt. Christopher Poulton

The rugged terrain of Greater Trail can be tough to conquer. But the mountains, river, sand and rock will serve as ideal challenges for the military when the 39 Canadian Brigade Group puts boots to the ground next week.

“The way the geography is set up provides the soldiers with challenging training,” said Cpt. Christopher Poulton, the brigade’s public affairs officer. “It’s something different for them and a good venue because when we train, we want to train as if we fight, so to speak. We want to make it as realistic as we possibly can.”

Some 450 reserve soldiers, ranking from junior privates to senior officers, and 80 military vehicles are scheduled to land in Trail beginning Monday for the 2014 Kootenay Cougar training exercises.

Civilians can expect to see soldiers and military equipment between Aug. 18 and Aug. 20, said Poulton, noting that the exercises may be audible within the training vicinity between Aug. 20 and Aug. 28.

The purpose of the 10-day exercise is to confirm the soldier’s readiness abilities to respond to domestic emergencies and international operations when required.

Training exercises will be carried out at four Forward Operating Bases (FOB) throughout Greater Trail with two “scenario” based stands.

“The FOB emulates how the army would interact if they are in say, Afghanistan,” said Poulton. “There’s always a base they work out of and FOB Cougar, at the Trail Armouries, is the exercise’s headquarters.”

The exercises focus on the soldiers performance in platoon and water crossing, clearance patrol, close quarter battle, small arms range, downed pilot extraction, live grenade range, decontamination drills, gap crossing, and survival skills.

Junior platoon leaders are required to direct their soldiers through each stand in an unyielding and challenging environment, using the “first principle skills” which are shoot, move and communicate.

In a round robin fashion, the platoons will rotate through each base, explained Poulton.

“The great terrain challenges their capabilities and skills so they will gain a lot of learning from this.”

Though live action would be exciting to watch, the training exercises won’t be visible to private citizens.

Earlier this year, Cpt. Adam McLeod made a stopover in Trail to brief local municipal politicians, representatives from Teck Metals and emergency personnel about what to expect during the largest military exercise of the year.

“We’ll have checkpoints set up near access points to the exercise areas advising the public of what’s going on,” he explained. “But during the live fire exercises, we’ll have to keep the area closed off for public safety.”

The 39 Canadian Brigade Group is the provincial Canadian Army representative that recruits, trains and retains reserve soldiers and leaders to support the country’s armed forces both at home and abroad.

The majority of serving members have civilian jobs, attend university, or work part-time for the army reserve.

The brigade’s units are located across the province with its command station in Vancouver, engineering squadron in Trail, North Vancouver and Chilliwack, and infantry on the coast, Lower Mainland, Kamloops and Prince George.

“Kootenay Cougar provides realistic and challenging training for soldiers of the 39 Canadian Brigade Group,” said Poulton. “Through instilling resolute determination through competition, soldiers will confirm their soldier skills and readiness abilities to respond in support of the Canadian Armed Forces.”

Just Posted

High hazard in downtown Trail

Roofing work began early Monday morning at the Trail Memorial Centre

More burning prohibitions rescinded in southeast B.C.

Category 2 and 3 fires will be permitted in Southeast Fire Centre as of 1p.m. on Wednesday.

Second hospital road part of plan, says Trail mayor

Martin was in Whistler last week for the UBCM; city delegation met with health ministry

Participation by women in West Kootenay/Boundary elections up slightly

More running than in 2014, but about same number as 2011

Syringa Creek fire ‘being held’

The fire has burned 3193 hectares; Deer Creek fire is also “being held” at 3849 hectares

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Teacher suspended after physically shushing, saying ‘shut up’ to student

Grade 5 student reported feeling ‘confused and a little scared’

A B.C. society helps to reforest Crown land after wildfires

Forest Enhancement Society of BC focuses on wildfire mitigation and the reforestation

Most Read