2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment - History

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2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (2 RCR) is a mechanizied infantry battalion that is under the command of 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (2 CMBG) and administered by 5th Canadian Division - Atlantic. Gregg Barracks, named for Victoria Cross winner Milton F. Gregg, is home to 2 RCR at CFB Gagetown. The name and location of the Barracks embody 2 RCR's strong historical link to the Fredericton area.

The Royal Canadian Regiment has been closely associated with the Fredericton area since its formation as the Infantry School Corps in 1883. A portion of the original garrison can still be seen at Officer's Square in Fredericton which was the original home of A Company. In 1899, 2nd (Special Service) Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment was raised for service in the South African War. This marked the first time a unit of the Canadian Army served outside Canada.

During both World Wars the Regiment fought in the European theatre. Among the 54 battle honours earned by members of the Regiment are Ypres, the Somme Valley, Ortona and Apeldoorn. In 1945, following the end of the war in Europe, a second battalion was created for service with the Canadian Army Pacific Force. This Battalion was mobilized and formed at Kingston, Ontario. In 1951, 2 RCR was raised again; this time for service with the Canadian Army Special Force in Korea. After the Battalion's return to Canada in 1952, it was sent to Soest, West Germany as part of Canada's NATO Commitment. From that year until 1970, the unit divided its time between Soest and London, Ontario.

In 1970, 2 RCR was relocated to its present home in Gregg Barracks as part of a force reduction process that saw elements of the 1st and 2nd Battalions, The Black Watch (RHC) dissolved and absorbed into 2 RCR. The most visible symbol of that connection is the 2 RCR Pipes and Drums, which in April 2000 celebrated its 30th anniversary with a successful release of a musical CD.

Though 2 RCR is a unit of the Regular Force allocated to 5th Canadian Division - Atlantic, it also maintains an operational unit within 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group at Petawawa. Today 2 RCR is a mechanized infantry Battalion that is equipped with the Canadian Forces new LAV III Armoured Personnel Carrier. The Battalion comprises three Rifle Companies, one Combat Support Company (a Battalion Headquarters element), and one Combat Service Support Company. As the only Regular Force infantry battalion stationed in Atlantic Canada, its soldiers are frequently called upon to perform duties in support of regional operations including: assistance to federal penitentiaries, searches for lost persons, and ceremonial duties and guards of honour. Also, much effort is devoted to supporting other CFB Gagetown units and the Reserve infantry units of Land Force Atlantic Area, and the Army Cadet movement.

The historical links between The Royal Canadian Regiment and Atlantic Canada have resulted in the traditional honour the Freedom of the City being granted by several local communities. These include the Cities of Fredericton, Saint John, Moncton, Charlottetown, Halifax, and St. John's. These associations are further highlighted in the Battalion's Company crests. Each contains an emblem drawn from the coat of arms of a major city of the Atlantic Provinces.

In recent years, training and operational activities have seen soldiers of 2 RCR deployed to such varied locations as Cyprus, Bosnia, Cambodia, Croatia, Macedonia, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Haiti, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Canadian Arctic, and throughout the Maritimes. The soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment have met the challenge of soldiering in the 1990s and will continue to serve Canada at home and abroad in the new millennium.

More history on the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment can be found on the History and Heritage website.

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