On Thursday, October 27th 2 RCHA marked the second anniversary of the LCol Bobbitt Military Skills Competition. Much like last year, this year’s competition encompassed nine military skill stands designed to challenge even the most seasoned of 2 RCHA’s soldiers and officers. Beginning on a cold, early fall morning, teams of eight from each of 2 RCHA’s five Batteries began the competition. Information about the course was given to the competitors in a controlled manner several days prior to the competition in order to allow team leadership an opportunity to train their teams.
Challenges ranged from a simulated mass casualty scenario where first aid was tested, to armoured fighting vehicle recognition, to changing heavy duty truck tires with basic vehicle equipment. Aside from some minor bumps and bruises commonly inflicted by the Garrison Petawawa Obstacle Course, all participants made it through the competition in good form. One challenge saw teams placed in a room with a chemical agent similar to ‘tear gas’ and faced with a bucket full of parts from four different weapons mixed together. They were forced to sort the pieces and reassemble them while in cumbersome protective suits and gas masks.
Planning for the event began in early August 2016. The organizer of the event, Capt Shayne Salovaara, attributed the complexity and ingenuity of each stand to the initiative of the individual Batteries which were assigned to run one or two stands each. The stand staff awaited the teams running around garrison and then put them through challenges and evaluated their performance. Teams needed to rely on both individual and team skill sets to successfully pass each stand. The team’s performance at each stand had an overall effect on their finishing time as penalties were awarded for any mistakes, for example mistaking a T-62 Main Battle Tank for a T-72 would incur a one minute penalty. It took approximately five hours to complete the entire competition which took competitors all over garrison and included over 10km of running and walking.
Once all five teams had passed the finish line the event was concluded with a closing Regimental parade where MGen (Ret’d) MacInnis was received as an honoured guest; he had donated the “Kneeling Gunner” trophy a year earlier and awarded it to the winner of this competition’s inaugural iteration. The ceremony reminded all members of the Regiment of the meaning behind the name of the competition. The event is held each year in memory of LCol Dan Bobbitt who was killed in a tragic training accident in 2014 while commanding 2 RCHA in Wainwright Alberta.
After time penalties and rewards were calculated there proved to be very close contention for 1st place. E Battery finished at 3:55:20, just over two minutes faster than D Battery. Notably, E Battery was the defending champion from last year’s competition. Just prior to awarding the trophy, MGen (Ret’d) MacInnis and LCol Hampton promoted Sgt Comeau, coincidentally a member of the winning team. The E Battery winning team consisted of Lt Moll, WO Dupont, WO Comeau, MBdr Wettlauffer, Bdr Martin, Bdr Foucher, Gnr Hebert, and Gnr Belanger. Immediately after the ceremony, 2 RCHA concluded a long day with a BBQ dinner and reception.
To see all the photos from the Mil Skills Competition, click the link below.
Commanding Officer - 2nd Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery
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