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The life of an AD Gunner

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I went to the recruiting centre yesterday, and they told me I'm getting sworn in on April 16th, going into Air Defence Artillery. That was my second choice, after Infantry, so i didn't research it as much. It's a hard trade to find information on too. The recruiting website says I could be posted to Lethbridge, Petawawa, Cold Lake or Gagetown, and other sources say only Gagetown. (It's 4 AD in Gagetown?) For equipment, I think I'd only be operating the ADATS, the Javelin and twin Oerlikon guns aren't used anymore, is this correct?

So once I'm done BMQ, SQ and the course in Gagetown, and am posted to a unit (in Alberta Ontario or New Brunswick) what can I expect to be doing? Lots of Exercises, or just maintenance on the ADATS, What is a typical day in the life of a air defence gunner?

Also, could i be deployed overseas as an air defence gunner? In what capacity? I can't think of any way our operations would be interfered with from the air in a modern low intensity conflict like Afghanistan. ADATS, Air defence anti-tank system, and the taliban doesn't have an air force or tanks, so what would we be used for over there?

Thank you for helping a very green recruit, I appreciate it. I'm looking forward to this career.

Thanks,
-Brandon
 

dapaterson

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The units in Lethbridge (18 AD) and Petawawa (really Pembroke, 1AD) are no longer performing AD, so your options are pretty much Gagetown or Cold Lake.  However, the number of positions in Cold lake are extremely limited, so count on Gagetown to begin.  However, there can be a fair amount of travel for AD gunners as they go to work and support exercises everywhere, and perform ASCC duties.

Air Space Co-ordination Centre (ASCC) duties are currently performed in Afghanistan by AD gunners; they ensure, among other things, that pilots aren't required to share airspace with artillery rounds.

There are some AD gunners on the board; I'm sure one or more will chip in.

Good luck with your training!
 

Bird_Gunner45

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Alright, first off, you're right about the 35mm and the Javelin, they are no longer in use.  Also, 1 AD Regt, 18 AD Regt, and 54 Bty in Valcartier are all gone, so the only postings for you in the AD are Gagetown and Moncton, NB.

Second, the ADATS isn't deployed in Afghanistan, but the AD does deploy Airspace coordination Centres (out of Moncton) and provides the soldiers for the Small Unmanned Aerial vehicle being used out of Afghanistan now.

So, basically, a typical day for a gunner would be AD weapons training in the ADATS and the simulators, weapons training, etc.  With the Op tempo for us to Afghanistan, we dont deploy as much to the field with the ADATS as we would like, but that will change once we're out of A-stan in 2011.  4 AD is also rumoured to be being re-rolled to Air Defence/Surveillance and Target Acquisition, with the ADATS, and different radars. 

Last point... your staff in St.Jean will likely tell you that there isn't an air threat anymore, which isn't the case. Right now there aren't any countries likely to attack is with fighters or fighter/bombers, attack helo's, etc but there is the potential for UAVs being used against us in places like Afghanistan like HAMAS uses against Israel, and for the AD to conduct a counter mortar role.  If they try to "talk smack" just mention that the Sudan has lots of attack helo's and aircraft, and there's lots of talk of going there. "The" war shouldn't be mistaken for "a" war.
 

daftandbarmy

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FWIW, AD gunners allow us to operate effectively in a general war scenario where enemy air superiority would mean disaster.

If a nation's capability in AD is of a high standard, they will generally be successful in ground combat. If they are not well prepared in an AD capacity, be prepared to speak the languiage of your opponent (see Guernica, Poland, France, Norway, Greece etc etc etc 1935 to 1943).

Unfortunately, like CBRN/NBC, AD suffer during those times when peacekeeping or COIN operations are the flavour of the month. Regardless, we need people like you to do well in your profession to make sure that we are able to operate effectively and help guarantee national survival in the worst kind of conflict with millions of lives at stake: general war.

Oh, my old man was an AD gunner. Can you tell?  ;D
 
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What's Surveillance and Target Acquisition?

The reason I put infantry as my first choice was because I want an exciting trade, I don't want to sit down, I want to be physically active, outdoors. Am I likely to see, be involved in, actual combat as an AD gunner?


 

Bird_Gunner45

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Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA) is basically locating the bad guys. For the AD trade, it will consist of UAVs (hopefully, though the field guys are still attempting to take them), and radars for locating enemy artillery, planes, etc. As for the "not wanting to sit down", that part is hard to say. As I mentioned before, we dont conduct a lot of Feild Exes at the moment (2-3, 1-2 week exes/year) but that could all change by the time you would get the 4 AD (2010-2011).. at the moment most units in the CF dont do a lot of field training unless you're A) Going to A-Stan or B) assisting in the training for those going to A-Stan. Finally, for the actual combat thing, you're not going to stab someone in the throat or anything like that, but you could be flying the UAV that locates the bad guy for an airstrike or arty strike. If you go to the Airspace Coordination Centre than it's basically computers and HQ environments. AD is a very technical trade, but there is a definite field element to it which isn't stressed at the moment due to the nature of Afghanistan. Also, you'd be coming in while we're reconstituting, so it's a good time to come in.
 

Lerch

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Just to update the AD, the Cold Lake detachment is being closed down right now (I don't know if it's moving elsewhere in the west, but the Cold Lake location is out), so you'll be joining me in Gagetown after your BMQ. Like you've already noted, BMQ-SQ-Arty(AD)DP1 and then regiment at 4AD.
Daily shadoo at 4AD starts with PT and when you get to regt there's various things to be done. Maintenance, classes, etc.. you can get yourself on other courses aswell, such as comms, turret operator or driver wheeled.

Don't count out AD as sitting around though, as the Gunner above said, things could change quickly.
 

Petard

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Bird_Gunner45 said:
Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA) is basically locating the bad guys. For the AD trade, it will consist of UAVs (hopefully, though the field guys are still attempting to take them),

Actually it was the locator's, who had decades of experience with the capability, that taught the air defence, and the Recce elements for the Infantry and Armoured how to use these systems. The Field Artillery is not trying to take them, they're busy enough and strapped for people anyway. UAV's cover a broad type of capability, and it is still evolving.
As for what the future might be for the air defence, that is certainly an open question too.

Unfortunately you will hear from some folks who believe you're entering a dead trade, at least the traditional ground based air defence role is dying. Should that kind of thing get thrown out there consider this, a little over a decade ago a number of people thought the Artillery should be done away with entirely, but recent experience has shown how short sighted that kind of thinking really was.

Sometimes it takes an extreme situation, or crisis, for people to really see what they need.

As for a ground based Air Defence you don't have to look too far back to see what can happen to even a very modern military that doesn't consider a ground based  Air Defence capability all that necessary. In this link, note the part about the Ivorian-French war.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukhoi_Su-25

Some might say, so what, the French air force wiped out the Ivory Coast air force shortly after, and they only lost 9 (and 37 wounded), but if those same people saying that kind of thing were on the receiving end of that Su 25 attack like those 9 were, they probably would be really regretting not having any kind of air defence.
 

Vimy_gunner

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I'm not 100% sure of Lethbridge 18th Regiment still being a unit or if you mean reserve or regular force, but I live in Lethbridge and just applied for the position of Artillery Gunner.  Online and on location of the base, it still says "18th Air Defence Regiment."

If this is just a clerical error and it should say "18th Artillery Regiment" instead of Air Defence then okay.

I'm not completely familiar with the Lethbridge base as I have lived here only a few years, but it's still very much active as a reserve regiment.  Unless the 18th used to be a regular force base?

The base is definitely not shut down, unless the 18th used to be a regular force base?
 

Bird_Gunner45

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oh 18 AD... Basically, 18 AD used to be a "Total Force" unit, which consised of regular and reserve force pers, that used teh javelin Air Defence system.  The AD reserve was disbanded in 2005 (I think...), so thought the unit is still called "18 Air Defence Regiment" it is a Field Artillery unit now.  Talking to a Capt from there, they are in the process of changing the name at this time....
 

Petard

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Yes, 4 years and still no official name change, nor the kit
They have C3 howitzers on loan, but they do not officially belong to the unit, no recce stores, no CP or FOO kit either, other than what some resourceful people have scrounged or acquired. Maybe because of this unit and its supproting Bde's resourcefulness somehow it has got overlooked.

Hopefully this will get sorted out soon, but more likely the new name will show up before the kit does.
 

Bird_Gunner45

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I actually hope that they bring the AD reserve and that 18 AD and 1 AD return to the AD fold.  Not having a reserve makes little, if any, sense since the AD is a regular force requirement.  This would solve a lot of issues for the army. 
 

Petard

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um, OK, you think there should be an AD reserve, but you're also saying Air Def is a Reg Force requirement (only?); I'm not sure what you're trying to say.
 

Bird_Gunner45

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What I meant that is since the Air Defence is remaining as a part of regular Force, it requires a reserve component to augment the regular force component.  Same as when the GSR is stood up there will need to be a STA reserve.
 
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