The 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Headquarters and Signal Squadron are on their final day at the Cochrane RancheHouse as part of the squadron's annual readiness exercise.

About 120 squadron members were based out of three locations for exercises that will keep them battle-ready. About 30 of them are here in Cochrane, and the rest are spread in the field and Calgary.

Capt. Jon Barraclough, the squadron's troop commander, explains their role is to provide command and control capacities for the brigade commander and their staff in a battle or an ongoing situation, whether it be a warfare scenario or ongoing domestic response, such as wildfire or flooding.

exerciseTroop commander Capt. Jon Barraclough, right, with Cpl. John Alimchandani.

"We move those command posts and set them up. We have to be prepared to do that either in an urban environment, say in buildings, those kinds of things, or what we call an austere environment in the woods, setting up with tents and trucks."

They started in Calgary and are moving west towards the Rocky Mountain Cadet Training Centre in Bighorn County.

"We're doing a few different locations along the way with two different command posts moving forward, moving west and then we have another one, what we call our rear command post, which would be our combat support folks located inside the City of Calgary."

He says the aim is to validate their troops are able to do their job effectively and to the correct standard. He says it requires efficient distribution of resources in a battle or ongoing situation.

"Not everything needs to be forward in the event of something like a battle. An ongoing situation in this scenario would be near the mountains and the brigade command staff may want to be closer to that battle so they can control it better. But the logistical support staff and the kind of services that we provide to support that operation will be coming out of what we call a brigade support area further back from that line of battle."

Based out of CFB Edmonton, the squadron has typically conducted the exercise at CFO Wainwright but came here to practice a fictitious scenario that offers the complexities of a real-life situation. 

exercise 2