SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - Several visitors trooped into the Royal Canadian Army Cadets P.E.I. Regiment for open day in Slemon Park recently.
It was part of a nationwide recruitment effort for the Canadian Armed Forces Primary Reserves.
Master warrant officer Kristen Trace says the camaraderie and support of joining the reserves cannot be matched.
“You learn things that you don’t learn in many other jobs that include teamwork and resiliency,” she said. “It can be raining and we can be in mud up to our ears, but we are still doing the job and having fun at the same time. Plus, you get to know people that you wouldn’t run into on a regular basis.”
Summerside P.E.I. Regiment is a primary reserve armoured reconnaissance regiment with 130 members, and room for twice that number.
“Armouries across the country are holding an open house to bring people in and show them opportunities that young or old people can take part in,” added Trace.
The Reserves is a part-time organization that works on Thursday evenings from 7 to 10 p.m., and typically one weekend a month. The part-time nature of the reserves allows Canadian citizens (over the age of 16) to also commit to education, careers and other personal priorities.
Reservists complete the same physical and military training as regular military members, although there are no long-term commitments or enforcements to take part in missions away from home. And reservists have the flexibility to choose their unit, schedule and trade.
“The training regime involves a bunch of different things. Most soldiers start with a basic training course, which falls within developmental period one and involves learning to drive and the tools of communication,” explained Trace. “After, they do more advanced training (on their chosen trade).”
Open day visitors were given the opportunity, under the guidance of Sgt. Josh Gallant, to handle and practise their marksmanship using an unarmed weapon that was equipped with lasers.
The day also included Mercedes-Benz or “G-Wagon” tours, the ins and outs of an army tent, experiencing the weight of a typical army backpack and a display of weaponry.
“We are demonstrating some of the tools that we use and equipment, like the tents here, G-Wagons, weaponry, and small arms training,” noted Trace.
Sgt. Ian Ross said the event was very successful and has been a priority for a long time.
Ross was one of three P.E.I. members of the Canadian 5th Division that excelled and came first in the Worthington Challenge in Gagetown, N.B. The military exercise is designed to enhance direct-fire gunnery, tactical driving and teamwork skills.
The annual international competition was held from Sept. 23-29.
“I feel very happy and proud of my team because we only trained for a couple of days before and our cohesion came through at the end,” he said.