The 41 Signal Regiment and the 41 Service Regiment joined in the Drumheller area over the weekend to complete joint exercise HOODOO FOX.
There were about 72 reserves from regiments coming from Calgary, Edmonton, and Red Deer.
For Exercise HOODOO FOX, the 41 Signal Regiment set up headquarters at the Drumheller Ag Society site and established Radio Detachments in various areas to practice communications skills. While this was going on 41 Svc Bn provided support to deployed units by providing support to 41 Sig Regt. 6. The exercise is designed to simulate tasks the communications and logistic soldiers would be required to perform in peace support operations.
“The training is really important to us, we try to make it as realistic as possible. This is our biggest training event of the year,” said Major Babish. “We practice our communication skills for our soldiers, we are also practicing getting service support from the service battalion with us.”
The exercise spanned the entire weekend, going from Friday night to Sunday, around the clock. The reservists worked through various scenarios, with the training officers adding twists and details to work through.
They were active not only at the Ag Society grounds, but in Verdant Valley, the airport, and the Newcastle Beach area.
Babish said they have been planning this exercise for about 6 months and purposefully selected Drumheller for the operation.
“We like to challenge ourselves and we don’t like to go to the same area all the time. This is really challenging for us. The way the topography is for us, working around the hills and the valleys and making sure we can communicate. That's what we are all about and to practice that in a place like Drumheller is extremely important to us,” said Major Babish.
He adds it is also helpful to carry out exercises not just in a desolate area, but in the urban setting where day-to-day life is happening.
He also notes the importance of the Singal and Service Regiments. They are often the first to arrive and last to leave from an operation. Their work is critical in setting up transportation, support and communication lines.
He explains the role of the reserves.
“We call ourselves citizen soldiers, we have full-time jobs. We could be working for places like EnMax. We have teachers, we have lawyers… all kinds of different people,” he said. “What happens is we augment the regular force. When the regular force goes out and has deployment and operation, they use us to supplement them to help fill in the need for personnel. We also take a role in domestic operations. Where there are floods in various areas, the reserve force usually comes in first in our local area.”