Operation Total Ram descends upon Medicine Hat
For Corporal Cameron Skrypnyk, there's only one thing he expects when he returns to Afghanistan for his second mission - the unexpected.
"You know, everything changes and my first experience won't be the same at all as my second one, but I do believe it gives me a leg up in terms of knowing what to take out of training as opposed to some of the younger soldiers."
Skrypnyk is taking part in Operation Total Ram. The two week training exercise will expose soldiers to the unique challenges of operating inside city limits. Captain Darren Hart says the experience is invaluable.
"We get a chance to operate within the city, do some urban patrolling and work with the people in actually having to interact with the people which is an excellent training tool for these soldiers who are going to Afghanistan in the fall."
The soldiers will all be a part of the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team based in Kandahar City. For the past two weeks they've been engaged in aggressive combat training at Canadian Forces Base Suffield.
This isn't the first time that troops have trained in Medicine Hat. During World War I, mounted rifle troops trained at what is now the Stampede Grounds in Medicine Hat. Canadian Forces officials say it was successful the first time, and they're hoping it will be again as the troops prepare for deployment to Afghanistan this fall.
In the coming days, actors will be brought in to play the Afghan people, the pace will quicken, and the training will intensify. But for now, the soldiers will begin to adapt to life inside city limits, each knowing that the training they get there will help them prepare for the road ahead.
The military says the training is not only important for the soldiers' development, but it is also important for southern Albertans to see first hand some of the work they do.