Unloading of US Army equipment. (Photo by MCpl Andrew Ryan)
Third-line support, Second to none
By Private Shane Brown
Posted on Thursday, July14, 2016
Beginning in May, elements of 2 Service Battalion descended on Garrison Wainwright ahead of Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE 2016, the largest Canadian Army training exercise of the year. Among them were Supply Technicians, Mobile Support Equipment Operators and Traffic Technicians who provided third-line base-side support for the duration of the exercise in Alberta.
The Supply Techs worked out of the supply building on base in an area set aside for exercises. Positions included Customer Service, Local Purchasing, General & Technical Stores, Rations, Clothing and POL. After the demands were put through from the field-based second-line support team into DRMIS, the system in which Supply tracks and manages inventory, third-line picked and purchased all of the goods that it can to satisfy the requests for the replenishment point. Supply Platoon Commander Lieutenant Spencer Turner explains the challenge of manning: “The platoon as a whole was only 15 personnel. This is quite small when you consider that we were supporting 6,000 troops. Nonetheless, we managed to get the job done.”
The largest component of this support unit was the Transportation Platoon. Working in shifts, the MSE Ops tasks varied from driving buses and rough terrain container handlers, camp refuelling, sea container placing, depot runs as well as airport runs to Edmonton.
“We were limited on qualified bus drivers and with driving hours,” said Tn Section Commander Master Corporal Jean-Paul Lavoie. However he went on to say that his biggest satisfaction was “that the missions were completed.”
Rounding out the group was a small body of four Traffic Techs responsible as the 2 CMBG Redeployment Team. They were tasked in ensuring that all of the Brigade’s assets were returned safely. While they took two months to ship all of the equipment to Wainwright before the exercise, they only had 13 days to return it back to Petawawa. “We averaged in the ball park of 20 to 25 truckloads per day and worked up to 14 hours a day all while under-manned. Yet we still achieved our goals,” said Section I/C MCpl Andrew Ryan.
Private Melinda Morris, a Supply Tech on her first major exercise said, “I learned that as a third-line support unit for an exercise as big and as important as MAPLE RESOLVE, you have more of an impact on it than you think you do coming into it.”