03 March 2005

Local soldiers train at Fort Pickett, Virginia

Approximately 140 reserve soldiers from St. John's left today for a training exercise in Fort Pickett Virginia.

The soldiers are from First battalion Royal Newfoundland Regiment, 56 Field Engineer Squadron, 36 Service Battalion and 728 Communications Squadron. Some local news media have also taken the chance to accompany the soldiers on the exercise.

Fort Pickett is an integrated manoeuver training area. The Newfoundland soldiers will be reportedly focusing their training on operations in urban environments. Like most major army training areas these days, Fort Pickett has a large, purpose-built section of streets to give soldiers realistic experience in working in urban areas.

While there are live fire ranges available as well, the Newfoundlanders will have the chance to work with weapons effects simulators, which have been used in the US military for the past 20 years but which are only now coming into service in the Canadian Forces.

The biggest value of this training will come from the variety of equipment available and the experience of soldiers with actual operational experience overseas.

For those wanting more information on Fort Pickett, here are some links:

1. fortpickett.net is an official site containing a comprehensive overview of the base, its facilities and the types of training possible. There are plenty of pictures and maps.

2. Global Security maintains a profile of the base as well.