In a scene reminiscent of Apocalypse Now, five Marine UH-1Y Hueys carrying Oscar Company, 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, landed at the Yuma Proving Groundâ€™s K-9 village searching for a high value target in a mock training scenario.
Oscar Company, part of Canadaâ€™s only air-mobile infantry battalion, is providing the ground combat element for the current Weapons and Tactics Instructor course. Approximately 160 soldiers from the regiment, which is based in Petawawa, near Ontario, are taking part in the exercise.
â€œThe goal is to train Marine aviators, and we provide the ground forces for them,â€ said Maj. David Hill, Oscar Companyâ€™s commanding officer. â€œBut, it also provides an opportunity for us to practice the urban combat skills weâ€™ve been training in.â€
The battalion is Canadaâ€™s high readiness unit, ready to deploy wherever they are needed at a momentâ€™s notice. The training they receive here prepares them for the event of a deployment to a desert environment, training their homelandâ€™s high latitude doesnâ€™t afford them.
In this scenario, three of the Hueys landed on the outskirts of the village, allowing the soldiers to set up a perimeter. While two other Hueys hovered above the village, soldiers aboard them fast-roped to the ground.
As the soldiers swiftly exited their winged chariots and assaulted the mock Afghan village, they engaged in brief firefights with role players, before locating and extracting their target.
â€œWe had blanks in our rifles, but they had paintballs,â€ said Master Cpl. Tyler Stephanich, a rifleman with the company.
â€œAs we flew in over the village, we could see roughly where they were positioned,â€ said Stephanich said of the high-value target and her bad guy insurgents. â€œWe grabbed her within the first three to four minutes from what I heard on the comms.â€
As the soldiers whisked the target out of the village, the Marine pilots returned to the village and picked them all up for the return flight to the air station.