Written by: MWO Neadow (1 ESU Trg MWO)
Many of you that know or have heard about 1 Engineer Support Unit (1 ESU), may have a preconceived notion that these men and women sit around in their plush arm chairs designing, do project manage and supervise the building of camps. That being said, you're not totally off the mark, they are the Canadian Armed Forces geniuses that do exactly that.
However, that's not all they do. You see, in order for them to supervise their work, such as the work they do for Canada's Sovereignty, ensuring that Canadian Forces Station (CFS) Alert remains fully functional, designing and completing projects and just about every other major camp you’ve had the pleasure to live in, requires them to step outside their box, well its true!
Stepping outside the box for this unit means they are require to remain current in weapon handling drills, CBRN drills, and even Navigation. Over the past year the unit has been conducting a rigorous training schedule. They have been conducting 12 Gauge shot gun training, the preferred weapon for our Canadian North, "never know when a irritable polar bear will interrupt the work schedule", or just being trusted into foreign lands, they all have to be proficient in weapons handling.
Many of you may think that this unit only train with their personal weapons. Well let me tell you, that's not the case. During the first week of Dec 2014 (1-4 Dec 14) the unit wanted to ensure their members were well versed in their Anti-Armour destruction capabilities, So off they went; Petawawa bound to conduct live fire training on the Short Range Anti-Armour Weapon Light (SRAAW – L) and the Short Range Anti- Armour Weapon -Medium (SRAAW-M), for those of you not familiar with those terms, they would be the M72 – 66 mm High Explosive Anti Tank Rocket and the 84 mm Carl Gustov.
The troops had a blast and the targets didn't stand a chance. Coming from the RCR with the pleasure of serving within this unit, given that 1 ESU is comprised of a multitude of support and construction engineer trades and every element (Land, Sea and Air) who would have ever imagined that these men and women could really shoot.
One of the memorable moments was when one of the Navy types who has never seen or handled these weapons smacked the target turret ring centre on the first shot, "I certainly wouldn't have." Even some of the old re-treads "Ex Army Lads" still remembered their weapon drills, freaking awesome! As for the Air Force Lads, it was evident that there was no way the Army or Navy blokes were going to get the better of them, so they pounded the targets as well.
So, for those of you that may think that 1 ESU just sits around in their plush chairs designing stuff, well then surprise, we know how to kick some butt too.