I apologize to anyone who was waiting for an update on my weekend and didn't find one until today. And when I opened my email today, I was surprised (and a wee bit impressed) with the number of folks asking for an update. So then, enough with the preamble and on to the weekend past!
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!