Canadian Rangers complete training exercises across Northern Ontario

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Peter Moon

Canadian Rangers have completed a series of field-training exercises across the Far North of Ontario. The five regional exercises involved more than 100 Rangers from 22 First Nations, and were conducted in eight locations.

“I’m proud of all that the Rangers are doing in these exercises,” said Major Charles Ohlke, the officer commanding the 640 Rangers in Northern Ontario. “I’m impressed by both their turn-out, and by all they’re accomplishing in them. The exercises are focused on winter survival and mobility, as well as training with the C-19, the new Ranger rifle.”

A key feature of the exercises was territorial surveillance patrols in which Rangers travelled by snowmobile while “looking for all sorts of things. According to Major Ohlke, “they can be signs of unusual activity, such as environmental issues or unauthorized mining activity. If they see something of concern we pass that information on to the appropriate authorities.”

The exercises allowed Rangers from different communities to train together and learn from one another. They also allowed less experienced Rangers to develop their leadership skills. “It allows them to take a position of command, organize a patrol, and lead it in the field,” Major Ohlke said.

One Ranger who became a patrol commander for a day was Ranger Quinton Anishinabie, a 21-year-old from Sandy Lake, who was part of a group of Rangers from four First Nations who trained near Muskrat Dam. He was tasked with organizing and commanding a 20-member surveillance patrol to Maguss Lake, 50 kilometers from Muskrat Dam.

“I was nervous,” he said. “I’ve never been a patrol commander before. I’ve never had to tell people what to do and how to do it. But it was a good experience. We took seven Junior Rangers with us, and we showed them how to ice fish on the lake. I’ve never done anything like it before and I learned from it.”

Commanding the patrol was the second of two major experiences during his two years as a Ranger. In the spring of 2018, he flew 800 kilometers with other Rangers from Sandy Lake to assist Rangers from three other First Nations when the ice-jammed Albany River threatened to overflow, and flood the remote Cree community of Kashechewan. The Rangers helped evacuate 1,700 of Kashechewan’s residents using military and civilian aircraft.

“You learn from these experiences,” he said. “I learned from Kashechewan. On this exercise we went to Bearskin Lake and we patrolled all around Muskrat. I am glad I’ve done it. One day I think I’d like to be a master corporal or sergeant.”

(Sergeant Peter Moon is the public affairs ranger for the 3rd Canadian Ranger PatrolGroup at CFB Borden.)

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