Army reserves on the march for recruits

Red Deer’s 78th Field Artillery Battery visits three communities on recruiting mission

Advocate staff

Red Deer’s 78th Field Battery will be on the march on Saturday as part of a recruiting drive.

The army reserves, based out of Red Deer’s Cormack Armoury, will be taking one of their 105-mm howitzers and an 81-mm mortar on the road to drum up interest in the army.

A dozen reservists in five vehicles will begin the day at the Bowden Heritage Rest Area next to Hwy 2 around 8:45 a.m. They will be in place at the Innisfail Royal Canadian Legion at 5108 49th Ave. by about 10:45 a.m. About two hours later, they can be found at the Penhold Multiplex, where they will remain until about 3:30 p.m.

Sgt. Jeremy Strong said the recruiting foray is a new initiative and part of a larger effort to step up recruiting for the reserve unit, which with Edmonton’s 61st Field Battery, forms the 20th Field Artillery Regiment.

Depending on how it goes, the battery may do similar events up to four times a year, he said on Friday.

“This time, we’re going south of Red Deer. I was thinking we could go east, west and north as well and let everyone know we’re here.”

There is plenty of room for those interested in serving in the reserves. Only about half of the full complement of 200 or so positions in the regiment are filled.

In Red Deer, there are 30 or 40 reservists and plenty of room for more. Strong, who has been serving with the unit for almost 19 years, said there were around 90 reservists serving in the early 2000s.

Besides the prospect of getting a close-up look at the business end of an artillery piece that can hurl a shell up to 18 kms, there is a lot to recommend serving, he said.

Post-secondary students can get funding tuition and be almost guaranteed summer-time work. As artillery, reservists use surveying equipment similar to that used in construction.

As well, reservists learn leadership, team building and organizational skills, all of which look good on resumés. Volunteers can tap into an organization that helps find reserve-friendly employers.

Strong believes many people are not aware their unit is here in town and they hope to change that. They meet every Wednesday evening at the armoury and reservists are expected to participate in one field exercise per year.

For more information go to their Facebook page under 78th Field Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery.

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