DT News interview: Capt Rhys Stevenson on Exercise Highland Bomber II

Video / December 20, 2021


(G) More than 100 Canadian Army Reservists recently gathered at 4th Canadian Division Training Centre near Meaford, Ontario for exercise Highland Bomber II.

Today we’re joined by the unit Operations Officer and key planner of this joint exercise, Captain Rhys Stevenson of the Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada, to tell us more.

Thanks for joining us today, Captain Stevenson.

What did this training focus on and what made it stand out from regular reservist training events?

(RS) This particular exercise is actually a series of exercises whereby we synchronize our collective training schedules between combat units, combat support units, and combat service support units. As you can imagine this required a whole lot of planning an effort and involved a lot more moving parts than what would normally be expected from a Reserve exercise from just one single unit. On this exercise we actually had 5 Reserve units from 31 Brigade. They were all working together to achieve their annual training objectives, but also collectively working together to achieve a much higher level than what was expected from our commanders.

(G) What are some of the benefits of having these different units working together for combined training like this?

(RS) The benefits from conducting training like this stem from trying to tackle the problems associated with P Res training. One of the problems we have is not having the right people on the right exercises and what we’ve done in synchronizing our training is trying to enable these people to be on collective exercises and having engaging training for those individuals. At the same time, having enough people available to do the background, catch-up training such that, at the end of our collective training all units are able to participate because enough people have attended collective exercises and achieved their threshold training.

(G) What’s the likelihood of these units training and working together again in the future?

(RS) It’s very probable, in that we’re currently planning with the same units and possibly some other units in our operational plan for next year. In that, we hope to garner a lot of the efficiencies and continue this momentum that we have as well as trying to fix some of the problems we’ve addressed through our after-action reviews.

(G) Anything you’d like to add?

(RS) Yes, I’d like to thank the Grey & Simcoe Foresters, 11 Field Artillery, 31 Service Battalion, and 23 Field Ambulance for their participation on all of these exercises. We would not have been able to do it without their participation and support. Thank you very much to them.

(G) Thanks for joining us today, Captain Stevenson.

(RS) Thanks very much for having me.

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