Rocky Mountain Rangers Sign Up New Recruits
Prince George, B.C. – Rocky Mountain Rangers Company “B”, based in Prince George, welcomed eight new graduates from basic military training on Saturday. Six of the grads are from Prince George, one from Kamloops and the other from Kelowna.
Captain Mike Oviatt says “we have a basic military qualification course that’s been running for the month of July, and they are (now)graduating,” with the graduation parade and ceremony held at the RMR Meadow Armoury on Dornbierer Crescent.
The Rocky Mountain Rangers are an army reserve infantry regiment of the 3rd Canadian Division, 39 Canadian Brigade Group and are based in Kamloops, with “B” Company located here. These are the people who are there to help provide safety and security to you and your family, your friends and neighbours when disaster, natural or otherwise, strikes your community, when the Fort McMurray fires, Calgary floods and other calamitous events toss normal, every day life out the window. The reserves take to the front lines with others to protect the public.
The Deputy Commanding Officer of the Rocky Mountain Rangers, Major Amadeo Vecchio, travelled from Kamloops to Prince George for the ceremony, reviewed the parade troops, addressed the proud family and friends of the graduates on hand, and (photo right) also presented an award to the top candidate from this year’s graduating class, Private Kurt Schwarz, who is also from Kamloops.
Private Evan Runzer is one of the six Prince George grads in this class. He says “the course far exceeded my expectations. It was far more challenging than I expected it to be, but once you get into the course you kind of realize those challenges are there for a reason. They’re all there to better yourself, to discipline everybody and create that cohesion as a unit and all that teamwork.”
“Every time there’s something that you go “oh man this is tough, this is super-challenging”, by the end of it you realize that you’re doing it because your instructors see that there was work that needed to be done, whether it be teamwork-building exercises or whatever. And they will put the whole section, that is the eight of us, into some sort of task whether it’s a navigation thing or a physical exercise thing, and that task will then better the group as a whole.”
Asked if the teamwork concept is one of the dominant themes, Pte. Runzer says “I would say it’s the most dominant theme. Nobody is an individual, everybody is the same to the point of you have your front left pocket is your I.D. card, every pocket is the same, every person is the same it’s all about teamwork, there is no individuality in the military. It’s all about being part of one big cohesive unit, one big cohesive team, that everybody works together.”
Asked what drew him to becoming a military reservist, 26-year-old Pte. Runzer explains that “it’s something I’ve always wanted to do since maybe the end of high school, I’ve always kind of been toying with the idea. I thought about joining when I was a little bit younger but I had feelings I wasn’t, maybe, mature enough to be able to. So I just waited a few years and figured out exactly who I was as a person before I joined.”
“I feel like there’s two ways to go about it: there’s the way I did it, you join a little bit later and you kind of know how you’re going to fit in with most people, you know how you react to other people. And then there are candidates here who are still in high school. You know we were all shown our bunks in the barracks and it was, “here, you’re living next to these people for the next month”, and that’s a foreign concept to many people.”
“So there’s two very different alleyways you can go. My side, where I knew how I was going to be as a person because I’ve lived a bit longer than some of these people and I know how I’m going to be around people, and then again, the military is a very good way for the younger side of the age group to find out and experience how they react with other people and how they overall get along in a stressful environment and doing teamwork and all the rest.”
Pte. Runzer says he plans on being in the military for a long time but “where it will go I can’t say. I do plan on further progressing within the Infantry, DP 1 and all the rest. Where it will be ten or fifteen years from now I’m not sure, and the only reason I’m not sure is because the military is such a vast organization and there’s so many different opportunities within the military (that) you never know exactly where you’re going to end up.”
“You could be dead set on one thing and then that opportunity comes up and you say “wow, that would be really cool” and all of a sudden your career path takes a hard right and away you go an you’re off doing something totally different but still just as exciting, if not more.”
Newly-graduated Private Runzer appears quite prepared to take that ride into his future.
Capt. Mike Oviatt says there is a healthy complement of reservists here. “The numbers are good and are steadily climbing. We’ll be parading about 60 individuals come the fall when our training year starts back up, and every year we get more guys.”
For several years there has been considerable discussion about establishing a full-blown armoury here, if membership numbers could be maintained. Capt. Oviatt says “as far as the permanent armouries, I can’t really speak to that. I know that some documents have gone to the higher headquarters requesting a formal establishment, because right now we’re still technically working out of Kamloops. So I’m waiting to hear that good word and when that happens I’ll have a much better idea on the idea of a permanent armouries or not.”
“But I’m not complaining. The facility we have here works for us. At the pace that we’re going we will outgrow it, it’s just a matter of time. But I don’t make the policy, I just abide by it.”