By 2Lt Jonathan Carpino
Canadian Army members of the Mighty Maroon Machine descended onto CFB Gagetown from all over the Maritimes last week to participate in the premier 5 Division Collective Training Exercise: MAROON RAIDER 2018. This exercise successfully saw a battle group of both regular and reserve force units united to employ their training across all levels of readiness. 4 Engineer Support Regiment (4 ESR) proudly provided more than a Squadron (Sqn) of soldiers to support the infantry in their missions while solidifying engineer specific tasks. Spearheaded by 42 Horizontal Construction Squadron (42 HCS) with support from 45 Vertical Construction Squadron (45 VCS) and 43 Counter Improvised Explosive Device Squadron (43 C-IED), the engineers aided in bringing a realism to the battle simulation and tactical planning that cannot be found anywhere else.
42 HCS which included members of 21, 52, 23, and 24 reserve troop, brought together the best in combat engineering to help shape the battlefield for a covering force battle. The scenario saw members of the fictitious 901 Mech Inf Bde deploy to deny the enemy Donovian forces access to the city of Gori (Oromocto). The engineers were instrumental in assisting the infantry with preparing the main defensive position (An anti-tank ditch and trench line spanning over 1000 metres); conducting work-up rappelling and assault boat training; maintaining a 20,000 L supply of filtered water, route denial through point obstacles, Abatis construction and crater groups; and the final reserve demolition of the access road codenamed “MANDARIN”.
Throughout the week, each troop was given complex tasks to plan and coordinate, providing a great opportunity to develop personal engineering and leadership abilities for sappers across all ranks. Some of the tasks that the sections had the opportunity to assist with included overnight assault boat raids; complex terrain demolitions and rappel extractions; bridging the gap over a complicated contour feature; and constructing various obstacles. These tasks helped to confirm the standards required of a soldier in an active Engineering Regiment like 4 ESR.
Ex MAROON RAIDER also provided a platform for the support of and networking with the reserve force engineering units co-located in 36 and 37 CBGs. Sappers from all of the Atlantic Provinces joined together to form a subunit within 42 Composite Sqn. As a vital troop within the Sqn, the members of 36 and 37 CBG Troop were able to demonstrate their excellence and professionalism in route denial and fighting spirit framed in Ex MAROON RAIDER’s combat group setting.
The exercise did not come without its own set of challenges, but each soldier kept their head high, focused on the tasks, and maintained a positive attitude. Regardless of the changes in the situation (in both the real world and scenario), the Engineers worked tirelessly to support the battle in any way requested. Ex MAROON RAIDER provided many opportunities for personal and professional growth to 42 HCS Squadron, and its’ leadership has been taking notes. Overall Ex MAROON RAIDER was a success and its’ lessons will help to carry the Regiment forward into Ex READY SAPPER and Ex NIHILO SAPPER.