Brecon Beacons, Wales — In the final 48 hours of a grueling exercise, 33 Canadian Brigade Group (33 CBG) produced a silver medal–winning team for this year's Cambrian Patrol exercise. It was a long time in the making – two weekends to select team members, 18 weekends to train, and then six days to pre-train in Wales.
What is the Cambrian Patrol exercise hosted by the British Army in Brecon Beacons, Wales? Quite simply it is one of the toughest, mission-orientated military patrol events in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and, as Warrant Officer Tim Aleman, the team's coach, added, an event that occurs during the wettest months of the year. "We covered 20 kms over the highest peak in South Wales and yes, it rained hard because the rain just slapped you in the face," said WO Aleman.
Nothing appeared to get in this team's way, not even Mother Nature. "An outstanding job by all members of the team was performed…they dug deep, drove hard and fast to achieve their aim," said WO Aleman.
Driving hard means carrying 80-100 lbs of equipment while crossing 50-60 km within 48 hrs over rugged regions. The brigade also completed several tasks along the way. These tasks included: nuclear, biological and chemical drills, obstacle crossings, first aid and casualty evacuation, patrol orders and reports, prisoner of war handling, hostage handling, mine and weapon recognition, section and platoon attacks, along with leadership and navigation of course.
All teams were required to also convert to the British weapon and radio systems. According to WO Aleman, "the team did an outstanding job in quickly learning the new equipment, making this a good experience for the team."
The competition was conducted in phases during which 22 other teams competed against rigorous standards. The 33 CBG team won one of only two silver medals while over half the teams could not complete all of the elements. The team excelled at their soldiering skills and had fun doing it.
In addition to WO Aleman (The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment), the team consisted of Sergeant Mark Howard (Hast & PER) as section commander, with Master Corporal Eric Marion (3rd Field Engineer Squadron) as his second-in-command. Corporal Matthew Newby (Hast & PER), Cpl Bradley Browne (Hast & PER), Cpl Martin Bougeois (Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders), Cpl Codey Pelkey (SD & G Highrs), Cpl Isaac Anderson (3rd Field Engineer Squadron) and Cpl David Harding (Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa) formed the section, while Cpl Nicholas Cook (Hast & PER) and Private Curtis Romkey (Governor General's Foot Guards) served as both spares and drivers.
Article by Lieutenant Carole Brown
Photos by Master Corporal Eric Marion and Warrant Officer Tim Aleman