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A first taste of being in western Newfoundland's army reserves

Master-Cpl. Brandon Pelley addresses the recruits during a drill practice.
Master-Cpl. Brandon Pelley addresses the recruits during a drill practice. - Contributed

The 2nd Battalion, Royal Newfoundland Regiment has started a basic military qualification course for training new Canadian Army reserve soldiers on the west coast.

The course has 31 new private recruits and officer candidates from Stephenville to Grand Falls-Windsor, who begin the first stages of a career in the Canadian military.

The course, being administered by course officer, 2nd-Lt. Lewis Park, and Warrant Officer Felix Rowsell, is the largest class the 2nd Battalion has had in many years.

The course is the first step for anyone who chooses to join the Canadian Armed Forces, and comprises of everything from basic drill, physical fitness, field craft, navigation techniques, and weapons handling. Whether a new recruit is joining as a sonar operator in the Royal Canadian Navy, an aircraft mechanic in the Royal Canadian Air Force, or an infantry soldier in the Canadian Army, everyone who wears the maple leaf on their shoulder is required to learn and achieve the basic foundations of military life.

The recruits range in age from 16 to 47 and all joined the Canadian Army reserve for various reasons. Some joined to acquire leadership skills, others are interested in joining the regular force full-time and wanted to get a taste of military training before making the commitment.

“The quality of the students being recruited from the communities around Newfoundland is outstanding,” said Rowsell. “We have recruits that are very eager to learn and are doing very well on the course thus far.”

The Royal Newfoundland Regiment hopes that future BMQ classes are as large as this one, especially with such prestigious responsibilities placed within the unit. This past year, the regiment was given a new mandate of arctic response.

If an emergency situation occurs in the north, the 2nd Battalion will be the primary response group. This also means more funding and newer equipment — such as all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles — are also being allocated, providing more job opportunities for new recruits.

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