Armoured Soldier

Job description

Armoured Soldiers operate and maintain armoured fighting vehicles, its weapon systems and its communication equipment. Armoured Soldiers are members of the Combat Arms team, which also includes Infantry, Artillery and Combat Engineering regiments. 

Armoured Soldiers begin their career with one of two types of vehicles: the tank or the reconnaissance vehicle. As a member of a tank crew trained to be a driver, operator or gunner, an Armoured Soldier has the following duties:

  • Drive and maintain the tank
  • Fire the tank’s main gun
  • Load the tank’s main gun and machineguns
  • Maintain the tank’s communications equipment

As a member of a reconnaissance vehicle crew trained to be a driver or an observer, an Armoured Soldier has the following duties:

  • Drive and maintain the vehicle
  • Load, fire and maintain the vehicle’s machine-guns
  • Maintain and operate the vehicle’s radio equipment
  • Gather and relay information about the enemy and the terrain
Transcript

ARMOURED SOLDIER

IN THE CANADIAN FORCES

CORPORAL CHRISTOPHER SYKES:  I’m Corporal Chris Sykes from Stouffville, Ontario. I’m an Armoured crewman part of the Lord Strathcona’s Horse Royal Canadians, Edmonton, Alberta. 

CORPORAL BRYDEN KLEIN: And I’m Corporal Bryden Klein from Kitchener, Ontario, and I’m an Armoured Soldier with the Royal Canadian Dragoons, posted to CFB Petawawa.

KLEIN: Canada’s Armoured Regiments are the vanguard of our modern fighting force – tearing up the track at up to a hundred clicks an hour with the sheer intimidation of man, metal, and machine guns.

SYKES: We’re proud to be part of the Combat Arms team, working together with the Infantry, Artillery, and Combat Engineers to achieve mission success.

SYKES: Armoured Soldiers are proud to drive, maintain, and operate the weapons and communications systems of some of the fastest and best-armoured fighting machines in the world.

SYKES: We do different roles – we have one as reconnaissance where your goal is to gather information and then after that, then the commanders make up their plan and then we roll in with the tanks and get the plan done.

SYKES:  This is our go-to recce vehicle -- the Coyote.

KLEIN: It’s an 8 by 8, 15-tonne armoured vehicle that we use to gather all our information.  We have cameras and night sights – we can see as far as you can see with your eye, and far past that.  Without armoured reconnaissance, really, you’re gonna be walking an entire combat team in blindly.  They’re not gonna know what they’re coming up against, they’re not gonna know what’s out there, they’re not gonna know which ways to go.  When we can’t get there with our vehicle, we take our surveillance equipment or even a set of binoculars and we will walk into the bush as far as we have to to get that information.

SYKES: And this is my ride – the Leopard tank – the recce crews find the bad guys, and we take care of the rest.

SYKES: My job as the tank gunner: I operate the turret, scan for anything that looks suspicious and shoot targets if necessary.  The tank is used to intimidate and also used for protection if the infantry need to hide behind the tank and then there’s also just the aggressive nature and the firepower capability that it has.  Being able to take out targets 2 to 3 kilometres away – it’s definitely an interesting experience. 

SYKES: Whether you choose one of the three historic Armoured Regiments of the Regular Force, or the sixteen Reserve Armoured Regiments across Canada, you’ll learn from the best, and you’ll roll with the best.

MODULE 2 – What’s cool about the job

KLEIN: It’s definitely an adrenaline rush.  Especially when you’re overseas.  You’re going fast-paced, and you have to definitely be up for the challenge and up for some long days.

SYKES: The first time you go overseas, that’s what you trained for your whole life, that’s why you got in the military.  Being able to do your job is – in a real environment – is actually one of the best feelings.

KLEIN: Anytime you’re driving through a village and you see the children able to run up to you and, with open arms, hoping to see you, giving you thumbs up and smiling – that’s the best day for me.

MODULE 3 – Trade-Specific Training

SYKES: After basic training, Armoured Soldiers head to Gagetown, New Brunswick and the Army’s Combat Training Centre.  You’ll work on advanced soldier skills and learn all the tools of an Armoured Crewman’s trade – both the reconnaissance and direct-fire components of the job, and how they impact overall mission success.

KLEIN: The skills you’ll master include driving and maintaining the Leopards, Coyotes and LAVs – operating the communications gear and laser and radar-detection gear, and, of course, learning how to identify Canadian and foreign equipment, vehicles, and aircraft.

SYKES: And you’ll learn how to load, fire, and maintain the guns and grenade launchers that are the deal-clinchers of Canada’s mobile arsenal.

MODULE 4 – Your First Posting

SYKES:  When you successfully complete your training at Gagetown, you’ll be assigned to one of Canada’s three historic Armoured regiments: the Lord Strathcona’s Horse Royal Canadians in Edmonton, the Douzième Régiment Blindé du Canada in Valcartier, Quebec; or the Royal Canadian Dragoons, based in Petawawa, Ontario.

KLEIN: As soon as I got into the regiment, I was thrust into the mix and that was the best way to get into it.  You’re obviously the new guy.  And you know that, but you learn quick, and there’s lots of people there that you make friends with and mentor you all along the way.   They’ll show you the ropes. 

SYKES:  You’ll spend time as a driver, learning your machine inside and out.  Then, you move on to a surveillance operator’s course, learning how to deploy your radar and optical surveillance suite. After that, you could move into the gunner’s role, and learn to master the amazing firepower the Armoured corps brings to the battle.

KLEIN: Throughout your military career, you’ll have the opportunity to upgrade and refine your skills – whether it’s as a gunner, a communicator, a vehicle specialist, or even as a reconnaissance team leader.

MODULE 5 – Testimonials

KLEIN: It’s a fast-paced and a hard job.  But there’s a lot of respect.  And there’s a lot of honour in it.  And if you put everything you have into it, you’ll get everything you want out of it.

SYKES: I left when I was 18 from my parents’ house.  So that allowed me to be more independent.  You just grow up a little bit faster, and take another challenging experience.

KLEIN: Proudest moment on the job would definitely have to have been – the day you come home from Afghanistan.  The people smiling and cheering, welcoming you back, there’s nothing like that feeling. 

SYKES: The best part is working with a bunch of guys, having a good time, getting the job done.  You’re serving your country, which is a good feeling in itself.  I love my job, I love what I do – that’s what I’m probably gonna do, maybe for the rest of my life.

TITLE:

ARMOURED SOLDIER

IN THE CANADIAN FORCES

Overview

Working environment

Armoured Soldiers experience the unique adventures and challenges that come with work in the field and on deployment to other countries.

Pay and career development

The starting salary for a fully trained Armoured Soldier is $49,400 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Armoured Soldiers who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion and advanced training.

Related civilian occupations

  • Heavy equipment operator
  • Computer operator
  • Firefighter
  • Guard

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Training

Basic military qualification

The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.

Basic military qualification – land course

After Basic Training, Army recruits go to a Military Training centre for the Basic Military Qualification – Land Course for approximately one month, which covers the following topics:

  • Army physical fitness
  • Dismounted offensive and defensive operations
  • Reconnaissance patrolling
  • Individual field craft

Basic occupational qualification training

Armoured Soldiers attend the Combat Training Centre in Gagetown, New Brunswick. Training takes 11 weeks and teaches the following basic skills:

  • Army physical fitness
  • Mounted and dismounted reconnaissance patrolling
  • Advanced weapons-handling
  • Individual field craft
  • Driving and maintaining tanks and reconnaissance vehicles
  • Firing and maintaining weapon systems currently used in Canadian AFVs
  • Operating surveillance equipment on the reconnaissance vehicle
  • Identifying Canadian and foreign military vehicles, aircraft and equipment
  • Using tactical command-and-control communications equipment
  • Organization, roles, doctrine and tactics of armour and reconnaissance
  • History and traditions of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps

Specialty training

Armoured Soldiers may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:

  • Unarmed Combat Instructor
  • Assault Troop
  • Armoured Crew – Reconnaissance

Advanced training

As they progress in their career, Armoured Soldiers who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include:

  • Armoured Gunnery Specialist
  • Combat Arms Telecommunications Specialist
  • Combat Arms Driving and Maintenance Specialist
  • Crew Commander
  • Reconnaissance Troop Leader

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Entry plans

Required education

The minimum required education to apply for this position is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondaire IV in Quebec. Foreign education may be accepted.

To apply online, select Crewman.

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Part-time option

This occupation is available part-time within the following environment: Army

Serve with the Reserve Force

This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time with a military unit in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.

Part-time employment

Armoured Soldiers serve with the Canadian Army. They are employed operating and maintaining armoured fighting vehicles, onboard weapon systems and communication equipment. When they are employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis they usually serve at a CAF armour unit located within Canada.

Reserve Force training

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic training, Army recruits train for the soldier qualification for approximately one month and then Armoured Soldiers attend the Combat Training Centre in Gagetown, New Brunswick for 11 weeks to achieve their occupational qualification.

Working environment

Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends, although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending on the type of work that they do. They are paid 85 percent of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.

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