PETAWAWA, Ontario – 2 General Support Battalion held its first Range Safety Officer (RSO) course in February — the 12 new RSOs will help meet the Battalion's training requirements.
The RSO qualification is not commonly held by combat service support personnel and centralized courses in the area are limited. For the 500-member Battalion, its long-term goal is to train 15 to 20 RSOs.
An immediate need for 2 GS Bn is preparing approximately 115 soldiers who deploy in August as part of the national support element on Roto 4 to Afghanistan.
With the help of the new RSOs, the Battalion expects to run multiple ranges and qualify these soldiers on a variety of weapons. "Rather than take five to six weeks, we could compress training in a week," said CWO Froment.
The trainees rotated through assigned positions on the range to gain confidence and assertiveness, while respecting safety precautions and adherence to rules and regulations.
In addition to the RSOs, range positions include:
· Range 2IC
· Butts non-commissioned officer
· Coaching staff
· Ammunition point
· Administration area
Currently qualified on small arms ranges, the next step in the RSO training is to qualify on higher calibre weapons, including the C6 and C9 machine guns, grenades, M72 rocket launcher and the Carl Gustav anti-tank weapon.
Lieutenant Stena Bergeron will use her new RSO qualification to help run ranges before deploying to Camp Julien as platoon commander of Movements Platoon.
PIC3L"It's an excellent course," said Lt Bergeron. "It gives us the ability to train our soldiers. Predeployment training incorporates various elements, of which the range is a very important part. It is essential that all personnel deploying feel confident in their weapon and be able to use it properly in all situations."
Article and photos by Warrant Officer Yves Durocher and Corporal Bill Gomm