Corporal Colin Lall from 2 Combat Engineer Regiment shares his Op UNIFIER experience
January 22, 2024 - Defence Stories
By Captain Breanne Brezinski, Public Affairs Officer, Joint Task Force-Ukraine
Armed Forces of Ukraine recruits conduct a final exercise that confirms the training they received from Canadian Armed Forces members during Operation UNIFIER Rotation 16 in the United Kingdom.
“Growing up I had a lot of interest in military history. Through constant visits to my hometown’s local armoury and passing the recruitment centre on the way to school I decided my future was with the Canadian Armed Forces,” said Corporal (Cpl) Colin Lall, a sapper from 2 Combat Engineer Regiment in Petawawa, Ontario.
Cpl Lall was recently deployed as part of Operation UNIFIER Rotation 16’s training element in the United Kingdom. He was part of the team providing engineer training to Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) soldiers.
While deployed, Cpl Lall taught engineer survivability skills so that AFU soldiers can operate safely in explosive environments. He explained that on the battlefield combat engineers’ primary roles are mobility, counter-mobility, and survivability.
“We enable friendly forces to live, move, and fight on the battlefield while denying the same to the enemy,” said Cpl Lall.
For Cpl Lall, the deployment gave him the opportunity to have a meaningful impact in assisting the AFU reclaim their country.
“Working with the AFU is very rewarding and humbling, said Cpl Lall. “These candidates arrived as bakers, pastors and teachers. They all leave this training as soldiers. You can see in their eyes the determination to reclaim their homes and to push the illegal invaders out of the country.”
Reflecting on his time deployed on Op UNIFIER, Cpl Lall explains that his key takeaway from this deployment is learning that a soldier’s strength comes from their teammates.
“At some point you stop fighting to keep yourself alive but you’ll always fight to protect your friends you went through hell with. This is a lesson I learned from seeing the AFU throughout these courses,” he said.
When asked why people should consider becoming combat engineers, Cpl Lall recommends the trade to anyone who likes lifting heavy objects or explosions.
“Engineers are the jack of all trades for the Army. We do everything from breaching doors to assault boating. Our specialties include heavy equipment, combat diving, explosive ordinance disposal and a few others.”
However, Cpl Lall highlights that the key aspect of the engineer trade is the camaraderie.
“When building a bridge there needs to be a lot of trust and team cohesion; same with when we setup explosive charges or conduct breaches. No matter what I’m doing I can always trust my fellow sappers to have my back.”
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