Hawaii, USA — Members of Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (G Coy, 2 RCR) joined the US Marines for six weeks in a unique training environment. G Coy, which holds the non-combatant evacuation operations (NEO) task, came to the Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) to participate in Exercise RIMPAC.
No Club Med
“It’s quite different from what we experienced in CFB Gagetown, where it’s mostly swamp and tall grass,” said Master Corporal Derrick Hilton, G Coy. “Here, it’s a lot of rock [and] small scrub. [The] arid environment [is] a little bit different [for] training. Pretty realistic though, I think, for some current theatres we’re operating in.”
Mutual lessons learned
Although both contingents have different operating procedures, the Canadians use many of the same weapons and skills as their Marine counterparts. In combined operations, there is usually a sharp learning curve, but once the essentials were grasped, the benefits of working together far outweighed the challenges.
Live fire, range training
As part of the exercise, G Coy boarded the USS Bonhomme Richard, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship. Apart from a stop at the PTA, the ship served as a home away from home for the troops.
During their week at the PTA, the Canadians conducted company-level training alongside the Marines and Australian troops. Using some of the unique Marine ranges, they tested their skills in the section range, the machine gun range and the unknown distance range. In addition, the forward observer party from 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Horse Artillery was able to call in live fire support from Marine artillery and Cobra attack helicopters.
Upon completion of their training, G Coy again boarded the USS Bonhomme Richard, setting sail back to the island of Oahu to participate in the final part of its role in Ex RIMPAC.
Article and photos by Sgt Dan Milburn, Army News, Edmonton