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Exercise Feral Mustang took place between January 6, 2016 and January 31, 2016, read the story of their experiences here!

Ex FERAL MUSTANG:  41 Service Battalion Conducts Basic Winter Warfare, 6-31 Jan 16

Private SBL Hill

Soldiers from 41 Service Battalion (41 Svc Bn), along with members of 15 Field Ambulance (15 Fd Amb) and the Calgary Highlanders (Calg Highrs), completed a Basic Winter Warfare course during the month of January.  The training took place over four training Wednesdays and two weekends, with theory classes held in both Calgary and Edmonton, and the field portions conducted at the Rocky Mountain National Army Cadet Summer Training Centre (RMNACSTC) north of Waiparous, Alberta. 

Soldiers were taught the necessary skills to live, work and survive in cold weather conditions. Wednesday training sessions included how to prevent, diagnose and treat cold weather injuries such as frost bite, snow blindness and hypothermia. The winter field equipment required was laid out and inspected, and toboggan groups were packed in preparation for two weekends in the field. 

During the first field weekend, soldiers on snowshoes were divided into four tent groups and instructed by staff on the timely set up of 10-man arctic tents with stoves and lanterns, and how to make proper adjustments to snowshoes. Once completed, tents were taken down and toboggans reloaded and moved to new positions to practices these skills again. The course then began the construction of improvised shelters and defences using available materials from the forest around RMNACSTC. Course staff interacted with the groups throughout this process impressing upon candidates the proper construction and ultimate purpose of these shelters. Deficiencies to kit were noted and modifications made to toboggans on the following Wednesday, i.e. restringing toboggan harnesses with stronger rope and ensuring missing kit was replaced. 

Friday night of the second field weekend, Calgary and Edmonton contingents arrived at RMNACSTC around 2300hrs. Four new tent groups were formed and moved out to their positons. Tents were raised, stoves and lanterns lit, and stove watch schedules prepared before troops went to ground. Saturday morning after breakfast, sections began construction of survival shelters. Each group went off to a separate area with the end goal being these would be sleeping quarters for the second night. Ultimately, groups were successful in this task and all candidates slept in their improvised group shelters. 

Along with building the shelters, two tasks were carried out by each group, independently:  a sweeping search for a missing pilot and returning with the casualty using proper medical recovery procedures, and; a recce search and recovery of the black box from the downed aircraft.

With this month long course successfully completed, the 33 candidates now have the basic skills to operate in winter weather conditions and the ability to train future soldiers with this knowledge.