Approximately 200 personnel from 4 Engineer Support Regiment (4ESR) arrived in Labrador in late February for winter training alongside members of 5 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group.
The learning curve was steep, said Maj Groves. The exercise aimed to teach soldiers valuable winter survival and mobility skills.
Under the instruction of the Canadian Rangers, members of 42 Field Squadron patrolled more than 500 kilometres of northern trails, and learned to ice fish, hunt, snare animals, and build improvised snow shelters.
"Labrador was an ideal winter training ground,” said Lt Shawn Burdett, who took part in the training. “From building survival shelters to driving in six feet of powder snow, it was a great experience."
One squadron ran into poor trail conditions and equipment failures on a long-range patrol, and spent half a day getting though one particularly sloppy section of trail. But the troops embraced the experience, and soon learned how to steer clear of the slush.
Other members of the regiment took to the sky in a small fixed wing aircraft that took them 200 kilometres south of CFB Goose Bay to conduct mounted and dismounted patrols, small arms training, and camp maintenance in the remote Permanent Training Area.
Soldiers also conducted demolition and conventional munitions disposal (CMD), and built a 350-metre long ice road capable of carrying large military vehicles.
Exercise NORTHERN SAPPER took place from February 18 to 29.
Article by Lt Nick Bouchard, Canadian Army.
Photos by MCpl Amanda Anderson, Canadian Army.