41 CBG Command Team Update (22 June 2020)
Colonel Mike Vernon and Chief Warrant Officer Scott Doyle
After three months of living in extraordinary times, we want to reach out to everyone in 41 Canadian Brigade Group with an update on where we stand. In the near future we will also be encouraging every member of the brigade to complete a comprehensive survey (aka “3 Canadian Division Systems Check”) that will give leadership critical information about your personal status and concerns. More details to follow.)
Where we’ve come from (March-June)
All told, 460 members of 41 CBG volunteered to serve on Class C contracts beginning in early April. They were ordered to remain on standby at home in order to stay healthy. So far, very few members of the Canadian Armed Forces in the West have been called on to assist with either pandemic response (Op LASER) or domestic operations (Op LENTUS). In addition, 50 members of the brigade deployed on Class C as part of the composite 41 CBG Mortar Platoon
augmenting the Canadian-led Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Latvia. Our critical staff at brigade and unit level have continued to come into work in uniform for the past three months to keep the machine running. Others worked from home. The Territorial Battalion Group under LCol Ryan Palmer and CWO Troy MacGillivray conducted planning and training–such as a Duty Officer course and rehearsal of concept (ROC) drills–in the event they were required to deploy in support of operations. It’s been a stressful and challenging time across the board, unlike anything we’ve encountered before. Many thanks to everyone who has served in any capacity during this unusual time.
Changes of Appointment. Several units have undergone changes of appointment for their commanding officers and/or regimental sergeants major:
CWO Mark Denney has replaced CWO Jay Reinelt as RSM of the Loyal Edmonton
Regiment. CWO Reinelt is currently on ED&T and intends to commission from the ranks.
CWO Andrew MacAlister has replaced CWO Mike Parchewsky as RSM of 41 Signal
Regiment. CWO Parchewsky intends to commission from the ranks.
LCol Steve Flavel has assumed command of 41 Signal Regiment from LCol Mike Fawcett.
LCol Fawcett will serve in the brigade headquarters, focusing on planning collective
training such as the brigade concentration slated for August 2021.
LCol Kent Miller has assumed command of 41 Combat Engineer Regiment from LCol
Scott Long. LCol Long will replace LCol Chris Hunt as Deputy Commander when LCol
Hunt begins the year-long Joint Reserve Command and Staff Course in September.
Where we are now (June-August)
Reserve Summer Training (RST). The TBG is now transitioning to conduct a brigade battle school out of Wainwright 2 July-30 August. The priority of training (in order) is PLQ (to address our persistent shortage of junior leaders), BMQ and BMQ Land (to address our bubble of untrained soldiers), and then DP1 (eg, Infantry, Armoured Recce, etc). Soldiers currently on Class C contracts are being directed to Wainwright to instruct on, participate in, or support training on a dozen different courses. Soldiers on such courses will be grouped into cohorts or bubbles by course in order to limit the possible spread of infection. This means they will do everything by course. They won’t be permitted to return home or go into Wainwright while courses are underway.
Full Time Summer Employment (FTSE). Untrained personnel who were not eligible for Class C service can now be employed on Class B commencing as early as 1 June. To be eligible for Full Time Summer Employment (June-August), they must be participating in RST this summer (eg, PLQ, BMQ, BMQ Land, or DP1)— either on course, instructing, or otherwise supporting courses. Soldiers will not be placed on Class B to remain on standby at home or to perform tasks around their local armoury, as in the past.
Standby for Domestic Operations. At the same time, we are maintaining adomestic operations reserve of 100-150 personnel drawn from those who previously volunteered for Class C service for Op LASER. They will be grouped detachments on call in Calgary, Edmonton, Medicine Hat, Red Deer and Lethbridge. If needed, they will augment Regular Force units called out to fight floods or wildfires. Members of the TBG and LRF have already received firefighter training in Edmonton or Wainwright.
Summer Leave. Soldiers on Class C contracts will need to expend the leave they’ve earned before their contracts expire 30 August. This means those earmarked for the Battle School in Wainwright must do so ASAP. Fortunately, earlier restrictions on travel have now been relaxed, so they are allowed to travel throughout the province, camp, etc in accordance with provincial guidelines https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx Inter- provincial and international travel remain problematic, however, primarily due to the need to isolate on arrival and/or return from outside Alberta.
Adventure Training. The brigade will also offer up to 40 members the opportunity to participate in Adventure Training based out of the Rocky Mountain Cadet Training Centre NW of Cochrane 1-7 August. Participants can opt to do five days of whitewater kayaking, single pitch top-rope climbing, or a pack trip on horseback. They’ll be paid and specialized equipment will be provided by Yamnuska Adventures, the company contracted to deliver the training. Members should advise their chain of command if they are interested. Participants will need to bring their own suitable civilian clothing (ie, no CADPAT, and no mixing of military and civilian clothing).
Where we are going (September onwards). We expect to receive formal direction from 3 Canadian Division in the form of its Business Resumption Plan (BRP) very soon. This is the plan that will outline how we, as part of the Canadian Army, will return safely to our workplaces and commence the new training year after Labour Day. Things will be different operating in a COVID environment, no question, but individual and collective training will continue. We will end out details on the 41 CBG BRP in the very near future.
Future Changes of Appointment. The following units will undergo changes of command in the months ahead: 20th Independent Field Battery (August), 41 Service Battalion (September), the South Alberta Light Horse (October), and the Loyal Edmonton Regiment (October).
Fortune Favours the Bold