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RMCC Military Skills Team resting up over the holidays prior to the big push in Mexico and then West Point (Sandhurst competition)

The 2016/2017 RMCC Military Skills Team

Back: Kane O’Brien (27386), Andrew Haves (27305), 2IC – David Chadwick (26941), Matthew Weeks (26881), Hugh Gilchrist (26939), Adam Welsh (27576), Nicholas Bomers (27746), Gabriel Kemp (28244).

Front: Samuel Quenneville (27412), Evelyn Gauvin (27103), IC – Joshua Hewitt (27002), Alura Castle (E7830), Matthew Choquette (28038).

Missing from photo: Augustin Mirea (27550), Gavin Omand (27388), Elise Thivierge (27049).

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RMCC Military Skills Team resting up over the holidays prior to the big push in Mexico and then West Point (Sandhurst competition)

As the first semester and the 2016 year come to an end, so does the first stage of the RMCC Military Skills Team’s training. Since selections the team has logged nearly 150 hours of running, swimming, shooting, and other skills training since selections, following Thanksgiving, in October.

Over the past eleven weeks, the teams’ focus has been on improving our fitness, specifically our running and swimming. On the range, our focus has been on pistol shooting. Overall, the goal has been to improve some of our weaknesses based on last year’s Chimaltlalli Competition in Mexico.

The progress made in the first semester has been substantial. The whole team has seen improvement in their running and some members have improved their 5km run time by over one minute with just five weeks between time trials. Similarly, in the gym, the team has seen huge improvements in strength while pushing themselves to their limits often for the second time in the same day.

On the range, our pistol shooting is already much better than last year. None of this would have been possible without our staff: PSP coordinator, Tomasz Deren; our team NCO, WO Wieczorek; and our OIC, Capt. Payne. Our staff has had limited direct involvement with the team except when we require their expertise for certain skills. Instead, they have been instrumental in our administration and organization. This means that the team has been almost entirely cadet run throughout the semester which has allowed our leadership to better develop and our members to grow closer together as a team.

When it comes time to compete next semester, there will not be anyone telling us what to do or pushing us to our limits except ourselves, so this is a fitting staff and team relationship model. We have also, once again, received outstanding financial support for the team from the Class of 1964 through the RMC Foundation, allowing us to acquire key equipment to enhance our performance.

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The first day of classes in January leading up until we depart for Mexico is going to be a busy five weeks. We recently received some information on the competition, and this year is going to be a much longer and challenging competition. The addition of patrol operations, grenades, tactical combat casualty care, day and night navigation, and rope bridge events, all separated by a weighted march, make this year’s Chimaltlalli competition similar to what we have seen in the Sandhurst competition in the past. We consider this a welcome change, but it also means we have to learn more skills than we expected before leaving for Mexico. However, if this semester is any indication, every member of the team will have no problem learning fast and approaching every training session with tenacity and dedication.

The team is eagerly awaiting approval for our participation in a patrolling competition at the General Bernardo O’Higgins Riquelme Military Academy in Chile in March. The academy is celebrating their 200th anniversary this year and have invited us to participate in the competition to “strengthen the traditional tied of friendship and cooperation between our institutions.” We have not received more information on the competition beyond the invitation, so all we know is that the competition is meant to demonstrate our leadership capabilities, critical thinking, teamwork, and basic military skills.

Throughout the semester, most of the team has been involved with military skills intramurals. This year’s intramurals were organized and planned by OCdt Weeks (26881) and OCdt Chadwick (26941). On November 24th, 44 cadets participated in the challenging military skills competition. The event took place on the RMC peninsula and CFB Kingston and culminated two months of hard training for the RMC Military Skills Intramurals program. In early October, the cadets were divided into four division-level teams of 11 cadets each and began training on Tuesday and Thursday evenings in preparation for the competition. The course stretched out over 13+ kilometers and took the teams over 3 hours to complete. Along the way, the cadets stopped at several stands that tested their physical and mental stamina, physical fitness, military skills and communication. The stands included: several physical “gut checks”, section attacks, combat first aid and casualty evacuation, radio procedure, grenade throwing, CBRN drills, marksmanship, assault boats, and various leadership challenges. After a very close race, D Division, under the leadership of OCdt Andrew Haves (27305), was the winning team. B Division was recognized as the team that demonstrated the strongest team spirit. Congratulations to all participants for completing the challenging competition. Thanks are also owed to WO Wieczorek, WO Ansell, members of the Military Skills Team and several other volunteers for supporting the competition.

The D Division Military Skills Intramurals Team

(The A Division Intramurals Team who took 2nd place in the competition)

We are all looking forward to getting some rest over the holidays. A typical week over the past semester has had individual team members running around 45km, swimming almost 2km, spending over 3 hours training in the gym, training with their Division intra-murals team for around 3 hours, and shooting on the range on the weekend. The dedication of every team member to their training, which is in addition to their academic studies and bar positions, is impressive, and I look forward to seeing what our team can accomplish next semester when we compete against other officer cadets from around the world.

27002, Joshua Hewitt