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Soldiers ‘battle’ during infantry training

The ‘rat-a-tat-tat’ of simulated gunfire rang through the air in Comox today.

This, as junior soldiers who completed basic training, were taught basic infantry skills at the Seal Bay training area.

The skills are integral in a rifle company.

The course is made up of 26 recruits drawn from the Vancouver Island-based Canadian Scottish regiment, as well as three other infantry regiments within the Canadian Brigade Group.

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Junior soldiers are being taught basic infantry skills at the Seal Bay training area. (Troy Landreville, staff)

Twelve instructors put the soldiers through their paces.

Course officer, Cpt. Chris Scott, said infantry soldiers are your basic grunts.

“They take and hold ground,” he explained. “In order to defeat the enemy they have to be masters of tactics, of weapons, they have to have good moral, cohesion, self-discipline, ability to work as a team, so these are the things we develop with them.”

Junior soldiers are being taught basic infantry skills at the Seal Bay training area. (Troy Landreville, staff)

The training included fire and movement drills, which are fundamental in attacking an enemy force.

The basic principle is half of the team provides covering fire at enemy positions while the other half moves.

Scott said this is a key tactic in the field of battle.

“Section attacks are what ultimately infantry do to take and hold ground, to attack enemy trenches and to seize that terrain.”

Friday’s training marked the midway point of the seven-week course, following instructions on weapons, equipment, navigation, rappelling, and basic communications.

It’s not for the faint of heart. 

Soldiers have to carry 44 to 66 pounds of equipment that includes body armour and protective plates for defence against small arms.

High temperatures and constant night training make sleep a precious commodity.

Scott said the training is very challenging.

“Most folks have never done anything like this, so it’s physically demanding in that they have to carry 20 to 30 kilograms of equipment while they’re moving forward in short rushes, they have to work cohesively as a team while there’s a great deal of noise, gunfire, smoke, confusion, and in order to train through that, it takes a lot of practice, a lot of baby steps and then they get better and better at it.”

Reserve soldiers come from every background. Outside of summer training course such as this one, they typically parade one night per week and one weekend per month at their local armouries. 

Pte.  Kevin Johnston said he enjoys being tested, which makes this division an ideal fit.

“I’ve always wanted to serve,” said Johnston, a criminology student from Langley.

“I kinda realized I wanted to be a soldier, as a trade. It’s not one of those trades that has a lot of transferrable skills over to civilian life but it is the skills of being a soldier, being a warrior, so that’s what I wanted to be, so that’s why I chose the infantry.”

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