By MCpl Jacob Bradley
From 25 Sept 17 to 20 Oct 17, a composite troop of 38 Combat Engineers, Heavy Equipment Operators and Construction Technicians deployed from 4 Engineer Support Regiment (4 ESR) to Camp Ᾱdaži, Latvia in support of Op REASSURANCE and NATO’s enhanced forward presence Battle Group (eFP BG). Sqn HQ consisted of Maj Heather Reibin (RMC 23234) with her Squadron Sargent Major (SSM), MWO Keith Comerford while the Troop was led by Capt Ryan Perry (RMC 26013) and Tp WO, WO Craig Watts. Their mission was to consolidate multiple Re-locatable Temporary Camps (RTC) into a centralized location capable of supporting 500 personnel for BG Relief In Place (RIP) operations. NATO’s eFP BG is a multi-national effort to reinforce NATO’s collective defence and strength of Allied solidarity in Eastern Europe.
The RTC is a collection of modular WeatherHaven equipment such as tents, showers, and generators that provide soldiers with accommodation and ablution facilities, running water, light, power, and heat. Making the RTC operational requires a number of unique CAF trades including Combat Engineers, Construction Technicians, Electrical Distribution Technicians, Electrical Generating Systems Technicians, Plumbing and Heating Technicians, and Refrigeration and Mechanical Systems Technicians. The Engineers also had various types of equipment at their disposal including a front end loader, backhoe and telescopic forklifts. On a few occasions, multinational support was required to set up and move certain components of the camp into location. Due to the inclement cold weather, the RTC was also winterized by the addition of insulated wooden floorboards.
The Engineers also completed concurrent tasks including the preparation of excess RTC equipment for redeployment, and Heavy Equipment operators made improvements to camp infrastructure by constructing multiple gravel pads on which MTS¹ shelters were erected. In order to build these pads, the existing ground had to be surveyed, and properly compacted. Locally sourced material was brought in to lift and level each pad. These shelters allowed the CAF to continue to provide medical services to deployed members over the winter months.
Indicative of their motivation and work ethic, the Sappers² were able to make a considerable impact to the Canadian infrastructure in Camp Ᾱdaži. 4 ESR continues to demonstrate the value of the Engineer Corps in supporting and sustaining CAF Operations on the modern battlefield.
- The Modular Tentage System (MTS) is one of the most thermally efficient and robust tactical shelters in the world. This capability comes in a selection of sizes, and is used for a number of field applications. The MTS is particularly popular with military forces due to its flexibility in design to form larger complexes, such as operations centres and medical facilities. http://www.weatherhaven.com
- The term “sapper” has been associated with engineers for many generations. The origin of this term lies in the French word “ sape ,” meaning undermine and in the Middle French word “sap” that was a spade or hoe. The dictionary defines a ‘sap’ as a trench that is prolonged by digging away the earth from within the trench itself. Customs and Traditions of the CME.