A year unlike any other for the Ceremonial Guard
Lieutenant Nadine Abou Rjeily, Public Affairs Officer, Ceremonial Guard
Sunday, 23 June 2019 marked the start of the 61st season for the Ceremonial Guard on Parliament Hill. Since their arrival in May, the members have followed a schedule of not only basic drill but also field exercises.
Although the Ceremonial Guard is best known for its scarlet uniforms and famous bearskin hats, the members are soldiers first and continue to train like any other infantry soldier in the Canadian Army during their time with the Guard.
This aspect of training on combat-specific military manoeuvres is what makes their summer more interesting. With a member of the Royal 22e Régiment as the Commanding Officer, Major Stéphane Tremblay, and a member of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry as the Regimental Sergeant Major, Chief Warrant Officer Brett Perry, the members have no time to be bored. Their daily schedule is divided up to allow them to juggle basic drill practice and the more traditional military side.
“The infantrymen I know, at least to my unit, that’s what they’re looking for, action. And that’s not the kind of action a person expects to have at the Ceremonial Guard, it’s new, it’s motivating, it’s fun!” – Master Corporal Lynsaskia Clement, Royal Montreal Regiment.
Once a week, the troops meet with Chief Warrant Officer Perry for a theory class followed by a demonstration before practising the exercise themselves. The demonstrations so far have included capsizing and righting an assault boat. Troops are also learning the best way to counter an enemy ambush.
“We wanted training this year to be more attractive and diverse for all trades. This is especially motivating for the soldiers and it allows them to keep this military aspect of the exercises while demonstrating their excellence to the Canadian public on parade.” – Captain Manuel Brault-Brissette, Canadian Grenadier Guards.
The Band of the Ceremonial Guard is not exempt from these intensive exercises, and the musicians are the ones who enjoy them most.
“It’s an off-the-job experience for us. Musicians do not always have the opportunity to do these exercises, we are used to playing music together, but never making that physical effort. It brings us closer together and nourishes our team spirit. It is an exceptional experience.” – Corporal Mary-Pier Touchette, 6th Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment.
For the Ceremonial Guard, all these small exercises will culminate in a two-day training period in Petawawa at the end of the month where they will be in the company of members of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, Canadian Special Operations Forces Command and 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron. The goal is to familiarize members with field training, military vehicles, such as Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicles (TAPV) and Light Armoured Vehicles (LAV), and develop their sense of interoperability.
During their time in Petawawa, members will have the opportunity to learn how to board and disembark from a helicopter and participate in helicopter operations. This experience is not necessarily offered to all soldiers in their early career with the Canadian Armed Forces.
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