Army reservists hold winter sapper exercise near Trail

The exercise took place at Stoney Creek Demolition Range

Second Lt. David Lancry of Rossland on “Exercise Alpine Sapper.” Photo: Submitted

Second Lt. David Lancry of Rossland on “Exercise Alpine Sapper.” Photo: Submitted

Local soldiers from 44 Engineer Squadron took part in “Exercise Winter Sapper,” a winter training session held near Trail last weekend.

The exercise, which took place at the Stoney Creek Demolition Range, is designed to enhance the soldiers’ capabilities to operate in cold weather environments.

Blank ammunition and training pyrotechnics were used, but the training did not involve the use of explosives.

Skills they applied included constructing defences and shelters, patrolling in winter conditions, day and night navigation, and radio communications.

Training exercises are essential to ensure Canadian soldiers are prepared when called upon to respond to a wide array of crises be they international or domestic.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the army has had to make changes to the way it trains to adhere to the guidelines set out by the government health officials, including wearing masks, physical distancing and increased sanitation.

“Protecting our force so we are able to respond to Canadians when they need us has been a top priority of leadership,” said Lieutenant Colonel James P. Julien, Commanding Officer 39 Combat Engineer Regiment. “As with any battle we need to adjust our tactics to ensure we still meet our objectives.”

The 44 Engineer Squadron is based in Cranbrook and Trail. It is part of 39 Combat Engineer Regiment, part of the Canadian Army Reserve in British Columbia.

For information about joining 44 Engineer Squadron or the Army Reserve call or text the unit’s recruiter at 236.888.9117.

Combat Engineers are the army’s experts in fortification, bridge and road construction and repair, boat operations, demolitions, and much more.

Reserve Force Combat Engineers have a particular focus on supporting domestic operations, such as response to natural disasters, where they may be asked to provide assistance to provincial and territorial authorities, which has occurred regularly for wildfires and floods in recent years.

Combat Engineers also play a significant role in international operations.

Read more: 44 Engineer Squadron welcomes new commander

Read more: 44 Engineer Squadron wraps up training exercises near Trail

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