Infantry Officer

Job description 

An Infantry Officer performs a wide range of duties, from commanding and leading soldiers as part of a team to occupying various staff positions involving planning, training, intelligence, logistics and personnel administration.

As commissioned members of Canada’s Infantry regiments, which belong to the Combat Arms, Infantry Officers are capable of operating anywhere in the world, in any environment including Arctic tundra, mountains, jungle or desert and in any combination of arms, including parachute, airmobile and amphibious operations. The primary role of Infantry during operations is to be involved in combat.

Transcript

INFANTRY OFFICER

IN THE CANADIAN FORCES

MAJOR DAVID FERRIS:  I’m Major Dave Ferris from Moonstone, Ontario.  I’m an Infantry Officer in the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in Shilo, Manitoba.

LIEUTENANT TYLER RICHES: And I’m Lieutenant Tyler Riches from Penticton, British Columbia, an Infantry Officer also from the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry here in Shilo, Manitoba.   

FERRIS: Infantry Officers, well, we command through the assignment of tasks.  We receive our orders from our superiors, we conduct what we call battle procedure and the combat estimate and come up with our plan.  And then we’re issuing the direction that is to be carried out by our subordinates, whether it’s on the battlefield or during a domestic operation or even in routine garrison.

FERRIS: We’re proud to serve in one of the world’s finest professional military forces, and we’ll match our gear, our training, our skills, and our commitment with anybody, anytime, anywhere. We’ve risen to every challenge the 21st century has thrown at us, from Afghanistan to Haiti to the Vancouver Olympics to flood waters in the Canadian heartland – and we’re ready for whatever tomorrow brings.

FERRIS: Our job description actually reads “to close with and destroy the enemy” but obviously, it’s so much more than that.  But in essence, we’re the boots on the ground.  It is the infantry that takes and holds ground, and the infantry is the only trade in the military that can actually hold ground and defend it. 

RICHES: The artillery is there to bring fire down onto a target, to suppress that target or partially destroy it, so that we may take the ground that that target was on.  The armoured is there to destroy other enemy armour assets.  The average infantry soldier is the asset that holds the ground on the modern battlefield.

FERRIS: Whether you join the Regular Force or the Reserves, your knowledge, your strength, and your steadiness will be tested every day.

RICHES: You’re the very tip, you’re the guy that they look to and they’re like “Okay, what’s next?”

FERRIS: We also have to set the example.  Part of that is leading by example; whether it’s on duty or off-duty, there’s some high expectations of the conduct and the performance, really, of officers because of the role we play, because of that leadership role we have within the Infantry.

FERRIS:  If you think you’re ready to be a leader, the Infantry will give you the skills and the training you’ll need to live up to the legacy of the heroes of Canada’s past in The Royals, the Patricias, the Van Doos, and 54 reserve regiments across the country.

MODULE 2 – What’s cool about the job

RICHES: Going out and doing the job of the Infantry Officer with the Infantry platoon is probably the most fun I’ve ever had.  The example I put out was the live-fire platoon attack I just did – you’ve got the Carl Gustav anti-tank weapon, the C-6 going in the fire base, and you just sweep through and they’re all going according to your plan.  And it’s all going because your sergeants and your master corporals are so competent that you can let them go.  You give them your plan and you lead.  But they get it done and it’s just the most amazing feeling.

FERRIS: The best part about being an Infantry Officer is actually working with the soldiers.  There’s no more rewarding thing than to achieve your mission.  With all of your subordinates and your enablers and at the end of the day, be the guy standing where you gotta be standing.

MODULE 3 – Trade-Specific Training

FERRIS: Here’s what to expect if you decide to enrol as an Infantry Officer.

FERRIS:  After your Basic Officer Training, you’ll report to the Infantry School at the Combat Training Centre at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in New Brunswick.

FERRIS: Your training at Gagetown will be divided into three phases.  You’ll start with training that all new Army officers go through.  Then it’s on to dismounted and then mounted operations. In the classroom and in field exercises, you’ll learn how to lead your platoon on foot and in our high-speed LAV III light armoured vehicles, working closely with the Armoured corps, the Artillery and the Combat Engineers.

FERRIS: As a future platoon commander, you’ll study everything from the effectiveness of your personal weapon, to the combat power of an Infantry Company fighting with LAV IIIs. The field exercises may be the most exhausting and demanding thing you’re ever done, physically and psychologically. But when you get through them, you’ll be confident that you’re ready for the real-world challenges that an Infantry Officer faces every day.

MODULE 4 – Your First Posting

FERRIS: Upon completing your training at Gagetown, you’ll be ready to command your first platoon. You’ll be assigned to one of Canada’s three historic Infantry regiments: the Royal 22nd, known as the ‘Van Doos’, in Quebec; the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in Alberta and Manitoba; or The Royal Canadian Regiment, with battalions in New Brunswick and Ontario.

FERRIS:  At the Regiment, you’ll divide your time between training here at home and deployed operations. On base, you’ll focus on personnel management, training, planning, and maintenance of weapons and vehicles on a steady, Monday-to-Friday schedule.

FERRIS: But when a crisis flashes, or a natural disaster taps Canada’s commitment to humanitarian assistance, that’s when the 8-to-4 workday turns into 24/7, and everything you’ve trained for comes into play. It’s times like these that will challenge your skills and your leadership – and build the proudest experiences of your life.

MODULE 5 – Testimonials

RICHES: We were fighting the floods in Portage La Prairie, in Manitoba and it was interesting to say the least.  We’d work from 6 in the morning until 6 at night just slinging sandbags.  But it was really interesting to see the boys, the way they looked at it, and the way we all looked at it was an opportunity to just actually help out around the community here.  It was a lot of hard work, but at the end of the day, it made us feel like we’d accomplished something in our own backyard.

FERRIS: I enjoy the physical challenge.  I enjoy the mental challenge.  Right now I’ve got one of the best jobs I could ever hope to have.  I’m in command of a company of around 130 soldiers.  We’re challenged every day with our physical training and getting them prepared for operations.  I get the opportunity to do all of the things I wanted to do when I joined the military.

TITLE:

INFANTRY OFFICER

IN THE CANADIAN FORCES

Overview

Working environment

Infantry Officers experience the unique challenges of working outdoors in various weather conditions. When not in the field, Infantry Officers are responsible for garrison duties, which include physical training, office work and supervision, mixed with instructing staff and outdoor field and weapons training. Office work is focused on personnel administration and maintenance of weapons, equipment and vehicles. These duties usually occur during regular working hours.

Infantry Officers will be posted initially to one of three regiments: the Royal Canadian Regiment in Meaford, Ontario, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in Wainwright, Alberta, or the Royal 22e Régiment in Valcartier, Quebec.

Pay and career development

The starting salary for a fully trained Infantry Officer is $51,000 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Regular promotions through the junior officer ranks take place based on the completion of required training and on the length of service as an officer. Once promoted to the rank of Captain, their salary is approximately $74,000 per year.

At the beginning of an Infantry Officers career, they serve either in a mechanized battalion equipped with armoured fighting vehicles or a light infantry battalion. They will be a Platoon Leader in command of 30 to 35 soldiers, and be responsible for the training and combat efficiency, discipline, morale, physical condition and well-being of the soldiers under their command.

Related civilian occupations

Although this occupation has no direct related civilian job, the management, leadership and instructing skills developed in this position are highly valued by employers.

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Training

Basic military officer qualification

After enrolment, you start basic officer training at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, for 15 weeks. Topics covered include general military knowledge, the principles of leadership, regulations and customs of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), basic weapons handling, and first aid. Opportunities will also be provided to apply such newly acquired military skills in training exercises involving force protection, field training, navigation and leadership. A rigorous physical fitness program is also a vital part of basic training. Basic officer training is provided in English or French and successful completion is a prerequisite for further training.

Following basic officer training, official second language training may be offered to you. Training could take from two to nine months to complete depending on your ability in your second language.

Professional training

The required training for Infantry Officers takes place at the Infantry School in Gagetown, New Brunswick. Infantry Officers will learn the duties and responsibilities required to command and lead an Infantry Platoon. This training is designed to progressively develop leadership skills while offering in-depth tactical challenges associated with conducting operations. Weaponry training will also be a part of this learning experience.

During the final phase of training leadership skills and tactical abilities will continue to be gained, while operating in a mechanized environment which includes learning to manoeuvre a Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) III, becoming proficient in the use of an array of modern infrared and night vision systems and the use of specialty weapons. After having mastered the tactical elements of commanding a Platoon from an armoured vehicle, Infantry Officers will be posted to an operational Infantry Battalion to take command of an Infantry Platoon.

Specialty training

Infantry Officers may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training to become a Platoon Commander. As well as command and control, an Infantry Platoon in the field and deployments. Selected Infantry Officers may also be offered the opportunity to acquire additional specialized skills such as completion of the Patrol Pathfinder course or Basic Parachutist and Free Fall courses.

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Entry plans

Direct entry

If you already have a university degree, the CAF will decide if your academic program matches the criteria for this job and may place you directly into the required on-the-job training program following basic training. Basic training and military officer qualification training are required before being assigned.

Paid education

Regular Officer Training Plan

Because this position requires a university degree, the CAF will pay successful recruits to complete a Bachelor degree program at a Canadian university. They receive full-time salary including medical and dental care, as well as vacation time with full-pay in exchange for working with the CAF for a period of time.

Typically, candidates enter the Canadian Military College System as an Officer Cadet where they study subjects relevant to both their military and academic career. In some instances, the CAF is able to pay for Officer Cadets to attend other Canadian universities in a relevant degree program. Officer Cadets who attend other Canadian universities typically attend university during the regular academic year and participate in additional military training during the summer months. If you choose to apply to this program, you must apply both to the CAF and the Canadian university of your choice. For more information, see Paid education.

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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 at an Air Force Wing 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

Infantry Officers serve with the Canadian Army. The primary role of Infantry during operations is to be involved in combat. An Infantry Officer performs a wide range of duties, from commanding and leading soldiers as part of a team to occupying various staff positions involving planning, training, intelligence, logistics and personnel administration. When employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis they usually serve with Infantry units at CAF locations 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 officer training, the home unit will arrange for additional training for specialized skills. The required training for Infantry Officers takes place at the Canadian Armed Forces Infantry School in Gagetown, New Brunswick.

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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