I Am Bombardier Jean-Christophe Sherrer
Bombardier Jean-Christophe Sherrer is a Reservist from 30th Field Artillery Regiment. He is currently participating on Op PALACI as part of the avalanche-control program in Rogers Pass. With training implemented through the Defence Policy: Strong, Secure, Engaged he and his team are using the C3 Howitzer and taking part in avalanche rescue training.
There’s a lot of avalanches that happen out here and we’re going out and firing our cannons into the mountains so that we can pre-emptively stop any avalanches that could be potentially hazardous for the civilian population out here.
My name is Bombardier Jean-Christophe Sherrer. I’m from the 30th Field Artillery Reserve Unit in Ottawa, Ontario.
We’re out here at Rogers Pass on Operation PALACI, this a domestic operation we’ve been doing since 1961. It’s, basically, triggering avalanches to prevent snow buildup. There’s one main highway that goes between British Columbia and Alberta. And in order to be able to get civilians from one place to another safely we really have to get to those avalanches as soon as possible before it becomes a danger to anyone wanting to use the highway.
There are specific points where avalanches often occur every year. We end up recording exactly where our barrels should be pointed and then all we have to do is pull the lanyard after that and it hits the same place every single time.
What we use for this operation is called the C3 Howitzer. It fires a 105 mm projectile and it’s extremely light. It’s really effective. What we ended up doing is we just added a jack to the bottom of the gun and what we can do with that is; we put the jack into a cup and then we can basically pivot the gun all around there to be able to shoot different mountains at different bearings.
Shilo was in charge of training us up to be able to come out here and we got enough training to be confident in our skills to be able to control avalanches through the use of our gun. So we were out there just training for a while and now we finally got the go-ahead to come out here because they actually need us to trigger certain avalanches to make the park safer.
Yesterday we got, basically, avalanche rescue training. We were issued these beacons, which are actually very effective at finding people. We can find them underneath the snow just by looking and it’ll point you where they are and it’ll tell you exactly how deep under the snow they are. So we can appropriately dig underneath to be able to find them. You start digging from the side in to be able to take them out and treat them for hypothermic shock or broken bones or collapsed lungs or what not.
You never really get used to the view to be honest. I really enjoy being out here, it’s a really friendly place, little small city, and generally just great people.
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