Approximately 50 soldiers with the regional 44 Engineer Squadron recently conducted a four-day training exercise near Trail to practice key engineering skills.
Squadron members were also joined by Canadian Army Reservist personnel from the Lower Mainland, who are a part of the 39 Combat Engineer Regiment parent unit.
Training included rock and concrete drilling using hydraulic and gas-powered drills, chainsaw training, heavy equipment operation, non-explosive demolition with expanding grout, and explosive demolition in rock, concrete, and timber.
Further exercises also included navigation course as well as day and night live fire weapons training at the Casino Range south of Trail.
Major Nils French, the 44 Engineer Squadron Commander, reports that the training was valuable and particularly useful for regional disaster response.
“The ability to work effectively with rock and timber is important in a mountainous, heavily forested area like the Kootenays,” French said.
An important aspect of the exercise was working with military equipment, such as Specialist Equipment Vehicles (SEVs) — a five-ton off-road truck designed to carry nine personnel and disaster response supplies such as pumps, generators, power tools, and first aid gear.
Each truck is also equipped with a heavy winch, an auger and a full hydraulic tool system.
“The vehicle and its equipment allows a team of engineers to go almost anywhere, operate in a wide range of conditions, and conduct a broad array of different tasks,” said Warrant Officer Troy VanTassell, a 20-year Canadian Army veteran currently serving with the squadron.
For those near Trail who may have hear loud concussion booms on Saturday, Oct. 19, French notes that the soldiers were conducting explosives training.
“There was a dense cloud ceiling at an elevation that reflected sound back into nearby areas, Warfield in particular,” French said. “The Squadron generally conducts explosives training no more than once a year, and it is only a couple times per decade that it coincides with a low, dense, cloud ceiling.”
44 Engineer Squadron has armouries in Trail and Cranbrook . They are currently accepting applications for part-time positions with guaranteed full-time summer employment for the first four years.
More information is available on the Canadian Forces website or by calling the Squadron directly at 250-368-2129.