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Canada's newest special forces unit began training

JasonH

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Meet the military's quiet professionals
Elite new regiment ready to fly into hot spots on short notice, but Rambos need not apply

Chris Wattie, National Post
Published: Saturday, April 29, 2006

CFB PETAWAWA, Ont. - Canada's newest special forces unit began training its first soldiers this week, gearing up at a breakneck pace to prepare for a first mission that could come as early as August and send the Canadian Special Operations Regiment to a hot spot anywhere in the world with only a few hours' notice.

The National Post was given an exclusive look at the first soldiers of this elite unit, the first new regiment formed by the Canadian army since the ill-fated Airborne Regiment was created in the 1960s.

But Lieutenant-Colonel Jamie Hammond, the regiment's first commander and a former Airborne officer himself, says the new unit will not be anything like the Airborne Regiment, which was disbanded in 1995 in the wake of the Somalia scandal.

"We don't want Rambos here," he says during a break in the demanding training regimen this week. "In fact, we're looking to weed out the Rambos. We want quiet professionals."

Lt.-Col. Hammond insists that his new unit is much more than just a battalion of paratroopers. The regiment will all be trained to parachute into action, but he says with a shrug: "That's just another way to get to work."

He wants his soldiers to be more of a cross between elite infantry regiments such as the U.S. Army's vaunted Ranger battalions and special forces units such as Britain's SAS, switching between operating almost as conventional infantry and like special forces commandos depending on their mission.

"We're going to be running with a different herd," he says. "We're really trying to straddle the things that both those kind of units do. We're going to give the government a whole range of options ... a lot of different ways of doing things."

The first 175 soldiers of the regiment, selected from among hundreds of applicants from across the Canadian Forces, are being put through an intense, 16-week training course to earn the right to wear the regiment's tan beret. They will form the first "Direct Action Company" of what will eventually be a 750-strong regiment, including sniper detachments, combat engineers, heavy weapons squads and teams of commandos.

The new regiment will be more open to public scrutiny than the ultra-secretive Joint Task Force 2.

But because so much of the Canadian Special Operations Regiment's work falls within the murky world of special forces, the Post was granted access to its training only on condition that the soldiers -- known as "operators" within the regiment -- be identified only by rank and first name, with the exception of the commanding officer.

The soldiers now training to join the regiment are enthusiastic and relentlessly cheerful, despite long marches in full fighting gear, bitterly cold spring weather and daily runs and physical fitness sessions.

Corporal Nick, one of 13 reservists taking the training, says with a grin that when a call was sent out for volunteers for the new unit he jumped at the chance. "When I hear we'd get the chance to join special forces, especially to be one of the first guys in a brand new unit, I couldn't pass on that," says the 21-year-old combat engineer from Waterloo, Ont.

...

More here http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=086151b6-7d63-4ee6-9611-889a29db8f20
 

ArmyRick

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It sounds like they are going about this in a unique and hopefully functional way.  8)
 

Armymedic

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Quagmire said:
I hope the military doesn't rush these guys into anything just to "prove" something.

I agree, but I think circumstances will have more of a determination then the need to prove something. Knowing how things are in Afghanistan right now, I am sure that there will be a role for them there fairly quickly.

Quote from the article:
Their first call to arms could come soon after the regiment is officially "stood up" in August. The unit is already officially on standby to fly into a war zone to aid in evacuating Canadian civilians, should the need arise.

From that statement, I would guess that they have now offically taken over the NEO tasks from the Bns.

I thought this was a really good article. I particularly like what is said here. (ninjasnipercommando wannabes take note):

"I need everyone trained to do all of the basic soldiering skills. They have to be completely confident in every weapon in our arsenal. We have to be masters of all these weapons you see here."

Lt.-Col. Hammond says he is more interested in soldiers with brains than bulging biceps and insists on training his soldiers for any eventuality. "We're not trying to create supermen or superwomen.... We want thinking people," he says.
 

NCRCrow

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I wonder if the JFT2 feels some turf encroachment with another elite unit vying for tasks.
 

tomahawk6

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View the CSOR role as similar to that of the US Army Ranger's.

The US Army Rangers are America's elite Rapid Deployment Force. They provide the American armed forces a cohesive fighting unit that can be moved to anywhere in the world in 18 hours. One Ranger Battalion is on call for deployment 24 hours a day. The Rangers are capable of rapid infantry assaults as well as some special operations into varied terrain and climates. Ranger are trained in all types of warfare.
 

paracowboy

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HFXCrow said:
I wonder if the JFT2 feels some turf encroachment with another elite unit vying for tasks.
I doubt it. There's a fairly clear delineation. CSOR is being brought into existance to enhance/support JTF capabilities, not compete with them.
 

MarkOttawa

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I wonder when they'll be transferred to Trenton!

"CFB Trenton plans on target: Kramp"
http://www.intelligencer.ca/webapp/sitepages/content.asp?contentid=32103&catname=Local+News&classif=News+%2D+Local

Excerpts:

'Tuesday’s federal budget will show the Conservatives are on track with their plans for CFB Trenton, Prince Edward-Hastings MP Daryl Kramp says.

“Everything is planned to go exactly as we said it would, so we will be looking at fulfilling our election commitments to the military, in which Trenton is going to play a significant role,” Kramp told The Intelligencer Friday afternoon.

In a pre-election stop at the base last December, then-Opposition Leader Stephen Harper said a Conservative government would increase military spending significantly...

Harper also promised a new airborne battalion of 650 regular-force soldiers would be stationed at the base, and the Disaster Assistance Response Team’s staff would double...'

Mark
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paracowboy

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MarkOttawa said:
I wonder when they'll be transferred to Trenton!
RUMINT​

MND told us that there is to be a new Airborne Battlion stationed in Trenton, and that it is to be seperate from CSOR. CSOR is to be stationed in Pet. New unit in Trenton.

RUMINT​
 

MarkOttawa

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Where will they put them at Trenton and where will they train?  The base is now in the middle of suburbia with a four-lane road down the middle.

Mark
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Armymedic

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It is my personal opinion that this "airborne regiment" in Trenton is so far down the "to do" list that you will never see it. Alteast, not until the numbers in the regular units get up. I can see, however, expansion of the Advanced Land Warfare Center, and the DART in their existing infrastructure.

I think the CDS's priorities are getting CSOR and CANSOFCOM up and moving and recruiting to fill up the regular line bns.

In Trenton, we need airplanes, new and capabile to lift a lot of things, a long, long way.
 

paracowboy

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MarkOttawa said:
Where will they put them at Trenton and where will they train?  The base is now in the middle of suburbia with a four-lane road down the middle.
pfffffft!!! Ain't gonna happen, anyway. It's a pipe-dream. We don't have enough senior NCO's to teach or lead the BNs we have now, the new CSOR, and populate the schools.

We said years ago that the point of critical mass was fast approaching. We've already hit it. Now they want to expand?

And where we gonna get the airlift? The logistics train? The supply pers? Baahaaa-low me!
 

Patrolman

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Sounds good to me. At this rate with two new units being created I should be on my Small Arms next week followed by my 6B next month. In my experience most Infantry soldiers are acting at least one rank higher than they actually are.
 

Scoobie Newbie

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"In my experience most Infantry soldiers are acting at least one rank higher than they actually are."
I would change that to most senior Infantry soldiers.
 

Patrolman

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O.K. What i should have said was, most infantry soldiers are in positions that are meant to filled with someone of a higher rank OR experience level. Some people who are not leadership qualified still hold positions they are not meant to hold. For example some of these positions are:- C-9 gunners who by rights should be a senior Pte./cpl.
                    - Signalers should be a senior member of the Pl
                    -Wpns Det Pers
                    - Lav Gunners should already be qualified MG but often are not.
                   
Often these positions are filled by new recruits simply because senior Pte.'s and Cpl.'s are working in leadership positions even though they are not qualified to do so.

I guess that is why they say always know the job of your next higher up because you never know when you are going to have to fill his shoes. With the creation of these new units we are bound to continue with this trend.
 

Redbeaver

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JasonH said:
Corporal Nick, one of 13 reservists taking the training, says with a grin that when a call was sent out for volunteers for the new unit he jumped at the chance. "When I hear we'd get the chance to join special forces, especially to be one of the first guys in a brand new unit, I couldn't pass on that," says the 21-year-old combat engineer from Waterloo, Ont.

It depresses me to hear about people my age doing stuff like this while I sit here learning about math and economics.  This goddamn education better be worth it.
 

Journeyman

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I'll add a few, mostly irrelevant comments, if I may....

tomahawk6 said:
View the CSOR role as similar to that of the US Army Ranger's.
True, but I can't imagine Jamie Hammond ever having a "high & tight" Ranger haircut  ;)

MarkOttawa said:
Where will they put them at Trenton and where will they train? 
I was in Trenton last week (more "having relations with the puppy" than actually accomplishing any work), and the TimHortons-Int was speculating on construction/expansion of the CF Detachment in Mountain View, (Prince Edward County, 10km south of Belleville). Since we occasionally had to take buses down to Trenton to jump back into Petawawa....or subsequently bus back to Pet because the plane was broken...I thought it Divine retribution that they would put an infantry unit in Trenton/Mountain View, since they'd have to regularly bus up to Pet just to find useable training space. If you have a unit whose role is solely to parachute, it makes sense to put them in Trenton (oh, I know, let's call them The Skyhawks  ::) ). But as mentioned, parachuting is just how an airborne unit gets to work. The key terrain (pun) is their ability to conduct combat operations once at the DZ. Nothing around Trenton provides an adequate training venue.

Redbeaver said:
It depresses me to hear about people my age doing stuff like this while I sit here learning about math and economics.  This goddamn education better be worth it.
Stay the course, young grasshopper. You read where the CSOR CO wants "thinking soldiers." You'll be on the cutting edge of a commando force parachuting into harms' way to explain calculus to Darfur rebels  ;D

......and to everyone who said we don't have the NCO capability to recruit/train what we have now, let alone any further expansion, I add a massive  +1 ditto!!


(Edited for sentence structure)
 

Lost_Warrior

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This new unit is nice and all, but when are we going to get the means to actually transport these guys to warzones "in a few hours notice"?
 
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