HOHENFELS, Germany - Canadian Soldiers with loaded weapons sit in anticipation and eager looks on their faces behind a large barricade of rocks. The overcast sky and chill in the wind didn't change the Soldiers determined stature.
Given the order to move, with weapons drawn they dash for the shoothouse compound of the Joint Multinational Readiness Center. Soldiers stack up on the door to prepare for entry. Canadian Army engineers force the door open and dozens of Soldiers flow into the building like an avalanche.
The sounds of gunfire reverberate through the building. The Soldiers move room by room. They line up their shots and take out their targets. After a couple minutes there is silence. They've completed their task: clearing the building of all hostile targets.
I Company, 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment is at JMRC for a month-long training event called Cooperative Spirit 2008, a coalition training mission involving America, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (ABCA). Cooperative Spirit 2008 is designed to test interoperability among friendly nations and to ensure that their forces have the ability to train and operate effectively together.
The ABCA countries have experience in many different areas, and they have a lot of useful knowledge that Canada can use, said Canadian Army Cpl. Scott Preeper, the Section 2 second in command for 9 Platoon, I Company, 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment.
"The group is getting some very high-speed training ... the instructors have been very helpful," he said.
The group was observed and coached by American Soldiers such as Sgt. 1st Class Jason Wright, JMRC. Wright is an observer controller responsible for coaching and mentoring the units working in his area.
"He's been showing us things from a different perspective," said Preeper. "We've been picking his brain all we can."
"You can tell every country here knows what they're doing," said Canadian Army Private Lee Penney, 9 Platoon, I Company, 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment.
"It's a different atmosphere in Germany, and it's great to see how other nations do things compared to how Canada operates," he added.
The Canadian Company practiced their drills with blank rounds prior to conducting the live fire event. During the blank fire practice, operator controllers sent signals to several Soldiers' multiple integrated laser engagement system sensors to signal to that Soldier that he was injured or killed. Soldiers then had to act accordingly and practice first aid on the simulated wounds.
Members of 9 Platoon learned that it is very important to ensure the building is safe and secure prior to rendering aid to fellow Soldiers, said Preeper. "It is very important to get the combat out of the way before casualty care," he added.
Being at JMRC has helped the unit enhance their urban operation proficiency and to learn how to better prioritize their movements, he said.
Various safety measures are taken during any live fire event. The instructors briefed the entire company on a wide range of safety measures prior to beginning the event.
The Canadian Soldiers followed the instructions of their American operator controllers with no problems at all, said Sgt. Dan Macintyre, Bravo section commander, 9 Platoon, I Company, 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment.
"If I deploy with my guys, and everyone comes back home safe, that's what I'm looking for," Macintyre added.
For more information, visit the web site at www.cooperativesprit08.blogspot.com