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.
IN THE CANADIAN FORCES