The Canadian Scottish Regiment conducted infantry training Thursday at the Seal Bay training area. Scott Stanfield photo

Infantry training at Seal Bay

The Canadian Scottish Regiment — a Vancouver Island-based primary reserve army unit – conducted an infantry training session Thursday at the Seal Bay training area.

Armed with blank ammunition, soldiers carried out section attacks, whereby small groups assaulted a defensive position. Each solider carried 20-30 kilograms of equipment, including body armour and protective plates for defence against small arms.

The training came at the mid-point of a summer-long course, which started with instruction on weapons, equipment, navigation, rappelling and basic communications. There are 26 recruits of varying ages and backgrounds from around B.C. Successful troops earn their infantry qualification.

Headquartered in Victoria, the Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s) has satellite detachments in Nanaimo and the Comox Valley. Seal Bay Armouries — a former transmitter site owned by 19 Wing — is home to half of the regiment’s B or Bravo Company.

Reserve soldiers are volunteers. Besides summer training courses, soldiers typically parade one night a week and one weekend a month.

“They typically join late-high school, early-post-school and serve until their 60,” Capt. Chris Scott said. “Commitments are voluntary. A lot of soldiers will join up, do their basic training, and then volunteer for operations overseas when it suits them.”

Private Alex Nikolic is from Vancouver but living in the Comox Valley for the duration of the seven-week training session. Before this course, he underwent five weeks of basic training (BMQ) in Chilliwack.

“It’s something I always wanted to do,” said Nikolic, 24, who works as a tile setter. “I wanted to do reg force originally but it didn’t work. I didn’t really want to move away from home. One day I saw an ad on Facebook to join your local reserves. Right away I signed up, probably the next day. So that worked out for me.

“It’s definitely hard,” he added. “It’s challenging, but I like it. Wouldn’t be infantry if it wasn’t.”

After he completes the seven weeks, Nikolic plans to continue as a reservist.

“But I would definitely look forward to a possible deployment. Just got to get as many courses as possible under my belt.”

Recruiting for the Canadian Scottish Regiment is ongoing.

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