On the 3rd of February 2017, 5 CER, 35 CER and 34 CER members deployed to the Valcartier training areas for exercise SAPEUR BLANC 2017. During this exercise, in which the main training phase ran from 3 to 9 February 2017, the troops conducted varied engineer specific training, which was divided into two parts; technical training and tactical training. The tactical component aimed to develop and maintain the basic engineer and soldier skills needed to survive and operate in austere territory. The technical component included tasks related to general military engineering that could be used in different operational contexts, ranging from conventional war to the provision of humanitarian aid on Canadian or foreign soil. In order to promote teamwork and self-transcendence, training was organised and conducted as a competition at the section level.
For the duration of the exercise, the sections slept in hides located in the training areas. During the day, the troops practiced different skills required of engineers. A vast list of engineering capabilities were trained during the exercise: construction of an ice bridge; demolitions and obstacle reduction; diving under ice; production of drinking water; assembly of a pedestrian bridge; use of hydraulic tools; anti-tank and small arms shooting skills; construction of a field machine; long range patrols; construction and renovation of buildings; use of heavy equipment; trapped sites and buildings search; production of lumber for construction; neutralization of explosive devices; geomatics; establishment of camp; command and control; logistics support and maintenance. The presence of reservists, alongside regular members, enabled an exchange of expertise with all participants. In addition, joint training allowed the regular and reserve units to enhance their interoperability by developing a better understanding of their partner organizations.
Finally, several visits took place during the exercise. A delegation of the United States Consulate General, based in Quebec City, came visit the soldiers to learn more about military engineering. Also, a team of journalists from the TVA news network came do observe and produce a short documentary on the exercise.
The exercise has been a great success for the regiment. The troops satisfied their battle task standards and are ready to support assignments of all sorts, whether on Canadian soil or abroad.
Members from 51e squadron of 5 CER are drilling a hole through the ice layer that formed over Lake Hayes in order to install water pumps.