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    Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Garrison Petawawa soldiers marching during Exercise RUCKING BEAR on April 20, 2018. (Photo by Cpl Guy Boudreault, Garrison Imaging Petawawa)

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    (Photo by Cpl Guy Boudreault, Garrison Imaging Petawawa)

  • ../../../images/Article_pics/May2018/may10/exruckingbear/images/PA06-2018-0058-010.jpg

    (Photo by Cpl Guy Boudreault, Garrison Imaging Petawawa)

  • ../../../images/Article_pics/May2018/may10/exruckingbear/images/PA06-2018-0058-011.jpg

    (Photo by Cpl Guy Boudreault, Garrison Imaging Petawawa)



Exercise RUCKING BEAR 2018

By Capt Dan Mazurek

Posted on Thursday May 10, 2018

So far as I could tell, surveying the over 1,300 soldiers from 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (2 CMBG) arranged on the parade square of Y-101 in the brisk morning air on April 20, 2018, I was the only one wearing just a t-shirt.

The dress for Exercise RUCKING BEAR, the annual 20-plus km Brigade Rucksack March mirrored what is planned for this year’s upcoming Iron Warrior endurance race: combat pants, combat boots and unit PT shirt.

The vast majority of 2 CMBG soldiers, however, had the good sense to layer unit sweatshirts over long sleeved base layers. With only my zeal for Queen and country to keep me warm and joining the team from 2 CMBG Headquarters, I commenced the march with “bear” arms, turning a nice RCD red form the cold.

The Canadian Army Battle Fitness Standard for a forced march is 13 km. Why would 2 CMBG then strive for over 20 km? During what has been an intense year of high-readiness, this brigade has made consistent efforts to foster a sense of resilience throughout all ranks.  2 CMBG continues to leverage brigade-wide military challenges to cultivate the physical skills and mental mindset expected of a Canadian soldier. 

Twenty-one years have passed since a ministerial order disbanded the Special Service Force (SSF) into the present day incarnation of this mechanized brigade group.  The heritage left by the SSF, however, can still be keenly felt in Petawawa. 

The 2 CMBG motto is “AUDACIA ET FORTITUDO” meaning: “Strength and Courage”. It is this spirit that pushes us to challenge ourselves in developing mental toughness and physical endurance.

Exercise RUCKING BEAR also served to promote unit and brigade cohesion and esprit de corps as units not only tackled this challenge together, but held BBQs after the march.  The weather on the day of the march was sunny, if brisk, and morale throughout the ranks was high. By the end of the march, with enough blood flow, pre-workout and the sun rising high, my arms even warmed up.