Wednesday, December 6, 2006
The title is Army-speak for the Exercise (Ex) turned into an Operation (Op). What that means is that we wern't pretending anymore. It was real.
Upon arriving at the Denison Armoury friday evening, we were all informed that the virus part of the Ex was no longer taking place. All that we were to pretend was that the town of Shelburne has been without water, heat, electricity, etc... for a period of time and the Civilians (Civies) need our help. We planned and preped (well, our leadership did while us troops racked out - went to sleep) all night and left the Armoury for sunny Shelburne at oh-dark-stupid.
When we arrived at Shelburne, we were surprised to discover that there was a winter storm the evening before where the wind and ice knocked over several Hydro One poles and blacked out a portion of the town. Us MPs went from zero to hero in under two minutes and had Traffic Control Points (TCPs) set up to divert civie traffic away from and around the hydro workers. One of our TCPs actually made the evening news up there on that New VO channel!
Now that was cool and all. I mean, it's our job to set up TCPs and we're very good at it. The trouble started when we were informed that we were not exempt from the Santa Claus Parade tasking. This may not sound like a big deal, but let me break the numbers down. We had five vehicles holding 13 MPs in all. One vehicle was the Command vehicle for the express use of our Officer Commanding (OC) us, two vehicles were being used in the two TCPs, one vehicle was being driven by the Corporal (Cpl) in charge (IC) of the section which left us with one available vehicle to do eight parade TCPs. That meant all we could do was plop MPs down in the middle of intersections to do traffic control with no vehicles - in the minus fifteen wind! But wait! Let's break down the troop numbers - Of the 13 MPs on the ground, two were not qualified to do traffic control (it's an insurance issue - don't ask), one was our OC, one was the Platoon Warrant Officer (Pl WO), the rest were qualified Cpls and Privates (Pte) however one was in charge of us (IC) and two were at each OP TCP. If you're keeping count, that means we have four available MPs to do eight TCPs and divert civie traffic around the parade route. The math here has become easy. Some points were covered by the civie cops while us MPs were given one or two points to cover. I had to run up a hill to reach my second point before the parade snaked around the corner.
So, to sum up that paragraph, we were over-worked, under-paid, freezing cold and had a bloody blast! I'm sorry to say no pictures for this one. Too busy and cold. Besides, a few downed hydro poles aren't film-worthy.
The Op ended when the workers called it a night around 1900 hrs (7pm) and the Ex kicked back in. The MP's who wanted to could do ride-a-longs with the Shelburne City Police, participate in the R.I.D.E. program with the O.P.P. and then head over to the local bar (yes, there was only one - called Tumbleweeds) and kick all the Infantry out. Myself and another were not interested, so we went to ground (another term for going to sleep) sometime near 2130 hrs (930pm) - after we had pizza a Cpl was nice enough to buy.
That's about it. Have fun!
Friday, December 1, 2006
This exercise is a Domestic Response Exercise. That doesn't mean we learn to deal with problems arising from drunken husbands and abusive wives. It means we learn to deal with problems on Canadian soil rather than abroad.
For our purposes, the lovely town of Shelburne has been struck by not only inclimate weather damaging infrastructure, but also a virus of some sort. 500 soldiers will be dispatched to the area to contain the virus and begin re-building the town's infrastructure. The MPs will be signing a route to the town so the other 490 troops can find their way up there and then we will be assisting the local Shelburne and O.P.P. detachments in their duties.
Amongst those duties, we have to halt the exercise for three to four hours to help with crowd management during the Annual Shelburne Santa Claus Parade.
Anyway, that's about it for the next little while. I should be back Sunday the third, but I probably won't post until Monday or Tuesday of next week. Us out of shape guys have an extended recovery period.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Someone let me know it would be a good idea to give a little information about myself. So I thought I'd start with my most consuming hobby/part-time job.
I am an active member of the Canadian Armed Forces. I am a reservist with 2 Military Police Company (2 MP Coy). 2 MP Coy consists of three platoons: 31 PL of London, 32 PL of Toronto and 33 PL of Ottawa.
I am a Corporal (Cpl) with 32 MP PL. Click here - http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/lf/English/11_6_1.asp and you'll see I'm pretty low on the rank structure. But the MPs are a different world. As a Cpl, when placed in certain situations, I have more power and authority than any other rank of other units. Think of it as a Constable pulling over the Mayor of a city for drunk driving. The Mayor clearly out-ranks the Constable, but in the lawful execution of his duties, the Constable has the authority to arrest the Mayor. Or for those of you who play Euchre, the Bowers may only be Jacks, but they are the most powerful cards in the deck.
Okay, cool stuff. The picture attached to this post is of me holding a Browning 9mm Pistol - made by Inglis. You know, the washing machine people. The Browning is the standard sidearm for high ranking members of the Reserve Military and all Reserve MPs. To tell you the truth, if I find myself in a position where I need my rifle, I'm in the wrong bloody area. Call in the Infantry. A typical shooter is effective upto and including 25 metres. Most privates struggle past 15 metres. Don't get within 40 metres of me. hehe
You'll also notice the soldier in the background (Cpl Rampersad) is wearing a red beret. A red berret is only worn by those in the MP trade. No others wear it. Army is green, Navy and Armoured is black, Air Force is blue, Search and Rescue (SAR Techs) wear orange and Airborne wear maroon. On occasion, you may also see MPs wearing brasards, or arm bands. There are different colour combos and configurations, but they all say "Military Police or simply "MP".
Before this gets too long, I would like to mention that my platoon boasts six members currently serving in Afganistan. Two are General Support (GS) and mostly stay on Kandahar Air Field (KAF) while four are Close Support (CS) and constantly travel "outside the wire" to directly support combat troops and vehicle convoys. Half way through their tour, all are doing well. In February, they will all come home while one more gets sent over.
Anyway, please submit a comment if there is anything else you'd like to know about my MP world. Thanks for reading.
Plug 1) http://sternwind.blogspot.com/
Plug 2) http://www.bigfishgames.com/index.html
The first link will take you to a blog that I can promise you will be much better than this one. Believe you me (does anyone know what that means?).
The second link will take you to a magical place. A place of Pirates. Or Settlers. Or Magic Balls. Or any other type of game you can imagine. It is 100% safe, 100% fun and sure to satisfy the pickiest gamers and non-gamers alike. The slowest connection will have you downloaded and playing in under two minutes.
As I am entering the realm of "Old Fart", please comment as often as you like with suggestions, comments and even rude remarks. I am nothing without direction. Perhaps I am in need of a Stern Wind...