By Master Corporal Chris Vernon
A group of 20 Canadian Rangers from Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador recently completed a unique 10-day Canadian Army basic training course at 4th Canadian Division Training Centre Meaford from Nov. 21 to Dec. 2.
According to Warrant Officer Bob Pye, an Army instructor who trains 3Rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group members headquartered at Canadian Forces Base Borden, the optional course is a basic introduction to the military lifestyle, rules and the skills needed to be a Canadian Ranger.
“It’s a basic introduction to the military. It teaches Rangers the basic military stuff: drill, first-aid, and navigation,” said Warrant Officer Pye.
Many Canadian Rangers are Indigenous and First Nations and serve in the communities they live and are considered “experts on the land” and trained upon enrollment – so the course is optional.
The Canadian Ranger Basic Military Indoctrination course, also known as CRBMI, also taught candidates about the Canadian Armed Forces policies, shooting the Tikka C-19 service rifle, navigation, and first-aid. Participants also spent a day and a night outdoors conducting search-and-rescue training and hands-on navigation using a map and compass.
“Navigation I enjoyed the most. Learning about how far you have to travel is exciting,” said Ranger Lionel Abraham Jr., who lives and serves in the First Nation community of Long Lake 58.
These skills are important because, so far this year, members of 3CRPG have participated in 20 ground search-and-rescue missions in Northern Ontario, rescuing more than 29 people, including two stranded truckers on an ice road, an injured Attawapiskat First Nation snowmobiler and two young hunters whose ATVs broke down, leaving them stranded about 100 kilometers away from their communities.
The training also served as an opportunity to strengthen the co-operation between 3CRPG (Ontario) and 5CRPG (Newfoundland and Labrador). Running concurrently to the CRBMI in Meaford Ontario, 5CRPG ran the CRPLC (Canadian Ranger Patrol Leadership Course) in Goose Bay, Newfoundland. Both groups sent Canadian Rangers to each other’s courses in a new training exchange program.
Throughout the year, Canadian Rangers also receive further training on basic forest firefighting, safe boating operation, ATV operation and cold weather survival.
The Canadian Rangers are a 5,000-member sub-component of the Canadian Armed Forces’ primary reserve force, whose mandate is to provide a military presence in Canada’s far north. Members assist with search-and-rescue, other domestic operations, and serve as Canada’s eyes and ears in the nation’s sparsely populated northern territory.
2022 marked the 75th anniversary of the creation of the Canadian Rangers. To honour the Canadian Rangers, the Canadian Army declared 2022 as “The Year of the Canadian Ranger.”