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Exercise Southern Drive 2013

Lorne Scots on Ex Southern Drive 2013

Lorne Scots on Ex Southern Drive 2013

This year, much like last year, members of The Lorne Scots participated in EX Southern Drive from 7-14 June 2013 in Ft Pickett, Virginia. This exercise was conducted in collaboration with the 1-110th Battalion of the 2 (US) Infantry Brigade Combat Team, a component of the Pennsylvania Army Reserve National Guard and our partner in an ongoing cross border cooperative relationship established over two years ago.

The aim of this exercise was to integrate a Canadian company into the 1-110th Battalion’s annual training in order to enhance cohesion and interoperability with our US partners. This was done by practicing Section, Platoon, and Company level SOPs and by conducting advance to contacts that were established and reinforced throughout the conduct of Ex Aggressive Vipers 1, 2, 3 and 4. The end result was very rewarding. Not only were we able to form a vital cog in the wheel towards building interoperability as a nation, we were also able to work on a more personal level with our American brothers. The Canadian Company was formed up of two Canadian Platoons, an American Platoon and an American mechanized Support Weapons Platoon. This support weapons platoon composed of four Humvees, two mounted with M240s and the other two with 50-Cals. This unique platoon added a new dimension to a dismounted infantry Company, which afforded the Canadian Company Commander with even more firepower, flexibility and manoeuvrability.

Throughout the span of the exercise our Company, augmented by the mechanized support weapons platoon, partook in numerous operations, all the while enduring the treacherous heat of the south. These operations ranged from Platoon level reliefs in place to a Company level night raid on a built up objective. The night raid was truly a sight and experience to behold come H-Hour. Unlike Canadian SOPs, where the firebase is formed of a dismounted platoon which only has a C-6 at its disposal and is emplaced in position awaiting H-Hour, the firebase of this raid, on the other hand, was formed entirely of the support weapons platoon. They did not need to be place at a particular position awaiting H-Hour, as they were able to move to the location of firebase merely minutes away from H-Hour. Once the firebase opened fire seconds from H-Hour, they were able to light up the sky and heavens above with their two 50-Cals, two M240s and an hour long barrage of para-flares to aid us with our advance, and securing our objective.

Southern Drive was an interesting exercise with the Lorne Scots providing a full platoon. The soldiers all learned something knew about working with our US friends to the south. The heat was a challenge and proved to be an excellent test of physical fitness and teamwork.

Lt M Hashaam

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