By Sgt Peter Moon
A group of mainly new Canadian Rangers has completed a challenging 10 days of intensive training at the Canadian Army’s 4th Canadian Division Training Centre at Meaford, near Owen Sound.
“It was a fantastic course,” said Warrant Officer Mark Kendall, one of the course’s Canadian Army instructors. “They were engaged and did incredibly well.”
There were 33 candidates on the Canadian Ranger Basic Military Indoctrination Course. Most of them came from two new Canadian Ranger patrols at Long Lake # 58 First Nation and Aroland First Nation, and a new detachment at Ginoogaming First Nation. The three Ojibway communities are near the small town of Long Lac on the Trans Canada Highway, 310 kilometers northeast of Thunder Bay.
The candidates included two Metis, one non-Indigenous Ranger, and seven female Rangers “They ranged in age from their early twenties to 65,” Warrant Officer Kendall said. “They had a range of on-the-land skills because they live near the highway and not from further north. Because most had jobs they had little difficulty with starting their day at 6.30 am.”
The army instructors were assisted by four experienced Canadian Rangers who acted as assistant instructors and provided a number of supports for the candidates. Three of the assistant instructors were female.
The Rangers were introduced to the new Ranger C-19 .308-calibre bolt action rifle and fired it on the range. Their other subjects included two days of first aid training and extensive instruction in navigation, which included a test of their new skills with a night-time exercise.
“They learned a lot and they learned a lot from each other,” said Captain Karl Haupt, the course officer. “They will take back what they learned with them to their home communities and they will pass on to other Rangers what they learned here.”
Learning to march for many of them was a challenge. But not for Ranger Jack Linklater Jr. from the Cree community of Attawapiskat on James Bay. He learned to march when he was a Junior Ranger from the age of 12 to 18.
“What I learned as a Junior Canadian Ranger helped a lot with marching and with some of the other stuff we learned here,” he said. “What I’ve learned here will make me a better Ranger and a better person in general. Being a Junior Canadian Ranger and a Canadian Ranger has helped make me who I am today.”
Last August, at the age of 20 he was elected his band council’s headman. In 2015 he was named Ontario’s Junior Ranger of the year. In 2014 he went into a burning building to carry two small children to safety before collapsing from smoke inhalation.
After their graduation parade, the Rangers enjoyed a traditional army Christmas dinner.
(Sergeant Peter Moon is the public affairs ranger for the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group at Canadian Forces Base Borden.)