Molotov Quimby of Springfieldja, Ventora, was reclining in a disused
easy chair close to a fire when his sentry alerted him that NATO forces
were close. He acknowledged the warning and went back to his brandy.
There was time. "Very close," the sentry said. A burst of automatic fire
came from a hidden bunker, and was immediately met by a huge volume of
return fire from the NATO forces. Seconds later, brandy forgotten, Mayor
Molotov Quimby was running for his life and freedom through the bare
trees and bog surrounding Fournier House. Calgary.
Molotov Quimby was chased down and arrested by Private Cody Martin and a
Ventoran policeman known as Mirko - the alter ego of Sergeant Chris
Tucker. The NATO forces were elements of 1 and 2 Platoons of A Company,
The Calgary Highlanders, while Mayor Molotov Quimby’s erstwhile henchmen
were drawn from 3 Platoon. Fournier House, a disused and rundown
property in Bowmont Park formed the setting for a series of presence
patrols, cordon and search operations, and arrests.
training, held over 16 and 17 October, was the second weekend of
training A Company has undergone this fall focusing on urban operations.
25-26 September focused on FIBUA. This last weekend pushed the soldiers
to use their judgment to contend with escalating scenarios. It also
taught them to use their powers of observation and diplomacy to gain
information from locals.
Together, both weekends demonstrate the unit’s focus this year on
the Three Block War. A term coined to encapsulate high, mid, and
low intensity conflicts within a small geographic area, the Three
Block War might have troops battling it out on one ‘block,’
patrols conducting searches and arrests of belligerents on the
next block, and other elements assisting with humanitarian aid on
the third. Scenarios like this are becoming very common in a
variety of operations around the world. Furthermore, the
concentration of population into urban areas means our soldiers
deploy frequently into cities and towns. Being able to operate in
built up areas takes practice and skills that, if not maintained,
senior NCOs served in Croatia and Bosnia during the early and mid
1990s, and their experiences came through as the scenarios
unfolded. When questioned about how the training compared to his
experiences in Croatia in 1993, Sgt Kurtis Sanheim replied, "I
thought it was excellent. When we did the same thing in Yugo,
there were always a lot of [local] people just carrying weapons.
Similar to the wild west. We all had weapons. It didn't always
mean you were going to shoot. So the training we did this weekend
was excellent. For example, at one point, a belligerent shot in
the air and then got shot by our forces. That shouldn't have
happened, but we had to learn...We don't do it [this type of
training] enough, and only guys on tours do that stuff."
type of training requires soldiers to be very alert and
intelligent. When asked whether the troops were ready for this,
Sgt Sanheim's answer was that "the guys in A Coy were ready for
this. We need to start pushing them. Our junior leaders need to be
challenged...the example is, if its over your head, its the best
way to learn. Saturday we had some bad judgment calls, Sunday we
did a lot better. That's the whole point of training."
Calgary Highlanders prepare to storm the house; note the muzzle
flash in the upper window.
The Calgary Highlanders junior leaders will be pushed once again
in November, when Task Force South deploys over the 19th-21st to once
again secure buildings in Calgary.