40TWENTY at 2 Combat Engineer Regiment - After Action Report

Publication Date: 
11 Sep 2017

By: Lt Alexander Landry
From 7-9 July, 2 Combat Engineer Regiment (2 CER) held a celebration named 40Twenty honouring 40 years since the Regiment has been stood up, and 20 years spent at the Neder Rijn Engineer Park (NREP) within CFB Petawawa. Over the course of the weekend, 2 CER hosted many alumni, engineer family members and other attendees to partake in many events celebrating the Regiment’s history and comradery.
The weekend kicked off on the afternoon of Friday, July 7th with a meet and greet hosted at the NREP near Brennan Lake. Current soldiers from the Regiment mingled with families and alumni, past and present, sharing stories of their time at 2 CER. Cold drinks and refreshments were provided under the hot summer sun as final preparations for the upcoming change of appointment parade took place.
At approximately 1900 hrs the same day, the meet and greet was paused in favour of the change of appointment parade and sunset ceremony. This parade saw the handover of Regimental Sergeant-Major (RSM) duties from CWO Darrel Jones to CWO Stacy Merriam under the supervision of 2 CER’s Commanding Officer (CO), LCol Jim Smith. Also present were 2 important leaders in the Canadian Army as well as Engineer Corps: the Director of Royal Canadian Engineers, Col Derek Basinger, and Commander of 4 Canadian Division Support Group (CDSG), BGen Mark Misener, who acted as Reviewing Officers for the parade.
The parade included a motivating speech regarding the history of the RSM position and Neder Rijn League from the CO as well as many humorous anecdotes by the outgoing RSM. At its conclusion, a fireworks display was held over Brennan Lake and the meet and greet resumed until the early hours of the morning as guests were lavishly regaled by 2 CER staff and soldiers.
The following morning, many guests were up bright and early to partake in the 40Twenty Golf Tournament hosted by 2 CER at the local Petawawa Golf Club. The Best Shot style tournament played on throughout the morning despite some moderate rain and saw a team composed of Mr. Steve Houde, Mr. Lenny Austin, Mr. Nate Buisman and Mr. Chris Butcher emerging victorious. Mr. Chris Butcher also walked away with prizes for Closest to the Pin and Longest Drive. After the tournament, participants enjoyed a BBQ lunch as the sun came out and door prizes were awarded. All guests left happy after a productive day on the fairway!
Happening at the same time as the Golf Tournament was the 40Twenty Motorcycle Rally led by 2 CER’s MWO Darrell Spence. This rally saw a group of 31 bikers cover more than 300 kilometres in the area, visiting Wilno, Renfrew and Beachburg via the country road system. The
group departed the NREP at approximately 0820 hrs on Saturday morning and concluded the ride at the Twin Rivers Golf Club around 1340 hrs.
Concurrent to the golf tournament and motorcycle rally, 40Twenty Family Day took place at the NREP’s BB101 throughout the morning and afternoon. This included many different activities geared towards guests of all ages including a petting zoo, inflatable structures, a slide and obstacle course, face painting, and a climbing rock wall. 25 Support Squadron’s Construction Troop also put together a small escape room that was amusing yet challenging for all participants. Guests were also able to take home mementos after making small buttons featuring personalized photographs. All in all, family day provided entertainment for all participating throughout the day while preparations for the dinner dance were taking place on the other side of the base.
Later that evening, 2 CER soldiers, alumni, family and friends gathered once again, this time in 1 RCR lines, for the 40Twenty Dinner Dance. For one night, the Y101 drill hall was extravagantly decorated and became a grand hall with a large dance floor in its centre. Cold drinks were once again served along with an exquisite dinner as artist David Menes performed to the amusement of the crowd. Following several door prizes being awarded, Ottawa Valley’s own Sidewinder Band entertained the crowd with its local music as guests celebrated late into the night.
The 40Twenty celebrations concluded on the morning of Sunday, July 9th with the Farewell Brunch held in BB101 directly adjacent to Brennan Lake. Guests streamed in between 0830 hrs and 1100 hrs to the delight of steak, eggs and french toast, while enjoying the comradery at 2 CER one final time during the 40Twenty celebrations prior to returning home. Many guests donated to the Neder Rijn League and picked up a copy of C.M. Legarie’s comprehensive history of 2 CER, Bridges, Jumpers, Dozers and Demolitions, while others made one final trip to the kit shop to purchase as much 2 CER regalia as possible to commemorate the event. The last of the guests departed near noon, all satisfied with their weekend of 40Twenty celebrations, many looking forward to those of 50Thirty to come in just ten short years.