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    The RCA Colonel Commandant, Brigadier-General (Ret’d) James Selbie, OMM, CD, addresses the participants before launching from Kingston, ON. Submitted photo.

    Man stands in foreground, other men stand in row behind him beside several flags
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    Ex UBIQUITOUS GUNNER participants during execution of stages. Submitted photo.

    Two canoes with people inside one has flag blowing in wind
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    Ex UBIQUITOUS GUNNER participants during execution of stages. Submitted photo.

    Line of canoes carrying many people on river




By Captain Michael Cherry

Posted on Thursday January 13, 2022

The 2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (2 RCHA) conducted Exercise UBIQUITOUS GUNNER 21 (Ex UG 21) which took place between 8 and 12 August 2021.

The event saw members of 2 RCHA conduct a five-day, 150-kilometre canoe trip along the Rideau Canal between Kingston and Kemptville, Ontario.

Ex UG 21 was part of The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery’s (RCA) commemoration of UBIQUE 150, the 150th anniversary of the formation of A and B Batteries, in Kingston and Quebec City, respectively. These units are considered Canada’s two first full-time Army elements and still exist as active Artillery Batteries of the 1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery.

This is a significant milestone for the Canadian Army and the RCA. The commemoration of UBIQUE 150 promotes and celebrates the heritage and identity of the RCA and Canadian Army, and instills pride at the local, regional, and national level.

In addition to commemorating UBIQUE 150, Ex UG 21 provided an opportunity for soldiers to maintain their fitness, build esprit de corps, and employ tactical leadership skills in a demanding, yet fun, environment. Throughout Ex UG 21, participants tackled a series of challenging single-day stages. Individual stages ranged from 18 kilometres to over 40 kilometres in distance. Throughout the execution of each stage, participants faced a number of challenges such as obstacles, extreme heat and sun, the threat of poor weather, and large open bodies of water.

The combination of these challenges and grueling distances led to an event that pushed soldiers both physically and mentally during each stage. The demands of this challenging event ultimately led to the formation of a highly motivated and cohesive team.

The Ex UG 21 team consisted of 25 participants representing 2 RCHA’s Headquarters and Services Battery, D Battery, E Battery, and F Battery, as well as six support staff. Participants spent each night by camping at the historic lock stations along the Rideau Canal. Evening activities included fishing, swimming, games, and socializing.

Support such as food, water, medical, and camping equipment were handled by the dedicated support staff. The efforts of the support team were critical to the success of the event and led to an extremely enjoyable experience for all of whom participated. The intimate accommodations, simple living, and reliance on the support team fostered the camaraderie and esprit de corps amongst the event participants.

A key aspect of Ex UG 21 was to provide junior members with an opportunity to develop their planning and leadership skills. Participants were divided amongst three groups led by an officer and senior non-commissioned officer.

Each group was tasked with planning and leading specific stages of the event. This was conducted by junior members of each group who were mentored through the process by their respective leadership.

Distance, resupply, weather, medical, and obstacles were among the factors that influenced their plans. During the final preparations, junior members briefed their stages to an audience consisting of all participants as well as the Commanding Officer and Regimental Sergeant Major of 2 RCHA.

During execution, these members conducted daily conditions checks, amended their plans as required, and executed each stage in accordance with their plan. Ultimately, the event was a success for 2 RCHA and was thoroughly enjoyed by all participants. The trip was a challenging and rewarding accomplishment for many members and lifelong memories were forged. Ex UG 21 is sure to remain a highlight of many of the soldiers’ careers.