Message from the Commanding Officer, LCol Paul d’Orsonnens, MSM, CD

After a long summer of quality training, instructing and getting our qualifications at the different training centers and courses, it is soon time to return to the unit, share our summer stories, and launch into our collective and individual training cycle.

On Tuesday 5 sept, all unit leadership from MCpls to Majors are expected to be present for briefings by WO Coxworth, our new Ops WO, on this year’s exercises and individual training priorities. Everyone is expected to complete their AAG with our new Chief Clerk, Sgt Gosselin, and his team.

On Thursday 7th Sept, all members of The Brockville Rifles are expected at the unit and will be received by the RSM, and then join up with their Companies for Ops briefs. All will complete their AAG with our orderly Room, to update all personal information forms for the Next of Kin, Marital status, Wills, Life insurance (SISIP) and Memorial Crosses. This is essential before we start our collective training cycle.

On the 9-10 Sept weekend, a leadership planning and training coordination will be held to prepare for the planned CT cycle and refresher on Battle procedure.

On Thursday Sept 14th, we resume regular Thursday evening unit training with preparation for our first collective training exercice on 15-17 Sept, EX CYMRU FIGHTER, jointly with the PWOR. This will be an exciting year of training as we launch into defensive ops on private land, so that we can continue to improve our defensive layout with each weekend while also conducting some patrols.

The Summer activities. All personnel were very active this summer, with all positions for Reserve Summer training filled, and many getting their qualifications. Congratulations to Cpls Ashford and Burns on the completion of their Primary Leadership Qualification Infantry course, a challenging course aimed at giving the necessary experience for upcoming leaders to become Master Corporals. Well done! Congratulations also to three newest Riflemen who are joining us, Rfmn Hutchinson, Rfmn Pearson and Rfmn Johnston, after their graduation from the DP1 Infantry course in Meaford ON that the RSM and I attended.

Those unit members not on courses and available formed our unit Pioneer section (with the classic beards) to compete at the Glengarry Highland Games in the Highlanders Tug-O-War Challenge Cup. Many chants of “shorts and beards” were called out by the Highlanders, in support of The Brocks team, after we caused an upset by winning throughout the morning. Moral was high during the competition and all enjoyed their first-ever experience with a 5th place finish out of 10 teams.

Other Riflemen and women set themselves apart, such as Sergeant Jana Eagle who was tasked to the Ottawa Ceremonial Guard, and earned a 4 Division Commander’s Commendation for a road-side accident rescue. Congratulations Sgt Eagle. Our other members at CG also did very well, and the CG CO thanks the unit for having Riflemen and women at CG that are dedicated to getting on with the job. Well done all.

OP ELEMENT. This operation is on-going as Border Services and Immigration Canada address the situation. Our deployed members currently supporting this task all understand that the situation will evolve as the flow of asylum-seekers changes.

Recruitment. Since April, the unit has been steadily engaged in an extensive recruitment campaign to increase our numbers and to raise public awareness on the employment possibilities with the Army Reserve. The aim is to ensure our Mons company is fully manned, as well as our unit C2 and support functions, so that the unit can draw on sufficient personnel for overseas deployments or exercises. Recruitment is everyone’s responsibility, and everyone should make the effort to inform others around them, both peers and parents, of the advantages of joining The Brockville Rifles. Sgt Hopper will brief everyone this sept, before we hold the National Canadian Army Open-House event at the unit on 30 Sept.

Our IT priorities. This year, our IT cycle will focus on preparing our new recruits for their BMQs, and ensuring our Junior leaders are skilled and ready to be qualified as instructors. There will be plenty of course training and instructor positions for those that are motivated and interested.

FORCES Combat Test. Our other IT priorities are to prepare everyone for the new Forces Combat test, so that everyone will pass by end December. Our Padre will continue to offer Unarmed Combat training courses on Tuesdays, so that all of us can defend ourselves against a potential knife attack, neutralize an assailant, and save lives. My intend is that everyone trains on the SAT trainer, so that our DCO, Major Giberson, after working with CAFSAC in Connaught, will help select our Riflemen and women for our unit Rifle team to be ready for next year’s competition. The Rifles are all about sharpshooting, and we will work towards that goal. Also, we will work with CF Health Group to strengthen our mental resilience by offering advanced R2MR training. A soldier is only as good as his positive mental attitude. So we will strengthen that part of us all, and get strategies to overcome stress and emotional reactions.

The Armoury. Our Armoury is our home and our pride, and thanks to Sgt Hopper and his hard-working team, and with Capt Lampron assisting, the Messes have undergone a welcome change. The JRs have moved to the second floor to better accommodate everyone and the many new Riflemen and women we are expected to recruit in the next year.

Cadets. An important part of our unit is our affiliated Cadet Corps. Our 113 Cadet Corps celebrated their 113th anniversary this year on 6th June 2017. This is a remarkable event and highlights how Brockville cares for its youth and has ensured that a quality training and instruction is offered by dedicated instructors. Our unit and its Riflemen and women support wholeheartedly our cadets and their Corps.

National Sentry Program. The RSM is preparing a plan to have two Riflemen and women join the NSP at the Ottawa War Memorial, for the Anniversary of the unit and the Pursuit to Mons commemorations. Available and interested members to this 3 week experience should discuss soonest with the RSM.

Army Run. The unit has registered a team to attend the Army Run, and we look forward to participating and demonstrating our support for this important event and fundraiser for our Wounded Warriors.

Pursuit to Mons Commemoration. A unit presence at the Pursuit to Mons commemorations in France in 2018 is being planned to remember the 100 Days, when the Canadian Corps in 1918 were in pursuit of the retreating Imperial German Army from Amiens to Mons, Belgium. It will also be an occasion to visit again The Rifles HQ and the amazing Rifles Museum in Winchester UK!

LCol P. d’Orsonnens, MSM CD

Semper Paratus

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