Soldier For A Day with 38 Service Battalion

Article / May 10, 2016

By 2Lt Stacie Nelles, PAO, 38 Canadian Brigade Group

 “This Relay  - make safe!”  … Huh?  Well it was their first time holding a C7A2 (C7) assault rifle, after all.

With all the buzz of first-day-of-school excitement, twenty-two participants, aged 16 to 45-years-old, dove into the world of the Canadian Reserve Force — 38 Service Battalion (38 Svc Bn) style.  Soldier for a Day was hosted by the unit on Saturday, April 30th, in order to give curious civilians a glimpse into what goes on behind the walls of Minto Armouries in Winnipeg.

It wasn’t quite basic training for these “temporary recruits”, but they were certainly in for a ride.  Nineteen-year-old Lyndon Jr. Daquigan said the day met his expectations, but he realized early on that he didn’t need to be as nervous as he initially felt.  Jessica Andrada was very excited to get started   “because you get to learn new things you haven’t seen anywhere else.” 

Participants “get to see how the service battalion operates,” explained 2Lt James Arkle, 17 Service Company’s 2IC. The event promotes recruiting and helps participants gain a better insight into the Reserves.  For students,  “we know that it’s attractive because it works with their schedule as an exciting part-time job during the school year, with full-time opportunities in the summer.”  

After tours and briefings on the various trades within 38 Svc Bn, the group was ready for some hands-on activity, including lunch.  For these soldiers-for-a-day, field meals are as mysterious a code to be cracked, as the workings of a C7, or the three squads of standing at attention. The Individual Meal Packages (IMP’s) were well received, with one participant asking if he could take one home!

Then, the moment they were all waiting for: hands-on C7 training, but not before an in-depth introduction and safety briefing.  First impressions?  “I knew it was going to be heavy and I would need to work on my strength,”   says Daquigan.   “All those video games, they lied to me,”  he quipped.  The group learned that weapons handling is certainly not as easy as it looks.

A short but well executed lesson in drill rounded out the experience for the recruits, which, to some, “felt like real basic training.”

 “The feedback from participants has been pretty positive,”  said Arkle.   “They’re very interested in everything that we’re doing here. At the end of the day, we may be drivers and technicians, but we’re soldiers first.”   And that’s what participants came to learn.

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