Tents, Tactics, and Tasty Meals: Lessons in Leadership from the RMR’s Honorary Colonel

BRAVO COY: The Sergeants of Bravo Company conducting a planning session the night before the attack, collecting information from the various recce patrols and determining the best plan of attack. Photo credit: Honorary Colonel David Bensadoun.

Article written by Honorary-Colonel David Bensadoun

Westmount, Quebec – 01 May 2024: For those whom I have not yet met, I’m David Bensadoun, the Honorary Colonel of the RMR. I served a first term as Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel alongside HCol Colin Robinson, former CO of the unit and the current publisher of this fine publication. I’m just starting my second term and recently received my paperwork for promotion to HCol. My “day job” is as the CEO of the Aldo Group, a fashion footwear company with its head office in Montreal. My main efforts outside of family and work are as the Chair of the Board of Governors of Lower Canada College and my role as HCol for the RMR. My focus has been on helping the members of the RMR with their personal careers and education plans, as well as learning as much as I can so I can help uphold the traditions of RMR across the entire regimental family. I have loved every minute of being an Honorary and hope to increase my contribution in the three years ahead.

With that in mind, I’d like to share some first person accounts of experiences with the RMR. While I know that many of the readers of the Intercom are veterans or currently serving, I believe there are also many who, like me, are civilians with a deep appreciation for our military. I hope my perspective will help everyone see the RMR through “fresh eyes” and please forgive me if I don’t get all the acronyms or terms right!

Corporal Sanda-Staicopol refueling the diesel heaters which kept Objective Dune toasty warm throughout the Valcartier night. Photo credit: Honorary Colonel David Bensadoun.

Last weekend I had the privilege of observing exercise Iron Boot at CFB Valcartier. Capt Sergey Perchun will detail the exercise in an article elsewhere in this publication. My goal here is to share my own observations.  I brought along our nominee for HLCol, Isabelle Racicot. We both had a great time learning about the operational side of the RMR. We stayed at the base camp which was set up to house the Ops element and the Recruit Depot soldiers. It was impressive to see how well equipped we were. I did not expect lighting within the tents, let alone heating, and I certainly didn’t expect the meals to be so good! We received hayboxes (large insulated boxes filled with food) from the CFB Valcartier kitchen and I was really surprised at how good the food was. Everything tastes better when your dinner table is the hood of an army vehicle!

SLEEPING ROUGH: While the residents of Objective Dune were cozy in their heated tents, Bravo company were catching a few winks on the forest floor in between recce patrols to assess the “enemy” from the depot unit. Photo credit: Honorary Colonel David Bensadoun.

The highlight of the exercise was meeting Bravo Company in the woods where they set up a temporary hide. They conducted recce patrols on a regular basis and had extensive photos of their objective: our base camp, named “Objective Dune”. We listened in as the Bravo company Sergeant collected the recce information from the patrols and as he formulated his plan of attack for the following morning. It was an excellent display of collaborative leadership as he sought feedback from his troops and refined the plan based on their comments. I came away with a newfound appreciation for just how well the infantry role develops leadership and management under stress.

Private Fernandez in his defensive position ready for the Bravo Company attack. Photo credit: Honorary Colonel David Bensadoun.

Of course, it was very convenient to know the exact time for the attack – we set our alarms for 04h45 and were packed up and ready to roll before the first (simulated) grenade was thrown at 05h20. The attack was over in less than 10 minutes, with a vigorous defence put up by the Depot recruits. Bravo Company led a creative attack, using their C9’s (Light Machine Guns) as a firebase at one end of the objective to draw as many of the recruits they could in the wrong direction. Four assaulting soldiers from Bravo then snuck into the compound and made it into the main tent, achieving their objective.

The opsec at Objective Dune wasn’t as tight as it could have been, making it very easy to see from across the sector. Photo credit: Honorary Colonel David Bensadoun.

After the exercise it was a full day of packing, cleaning weapons and travelling back to the armoury, where my family and I laid on a BBQ for the unit. I planned for everyone to have two hamburgers each and my count was right on! It was a pleasure to literally “feed an army”.

Attack on Dune: The final attack occurred at 05h20 on Sunday and lasted less than 10 minutes. In this photo we see the main Bravo element entering the objective. Photo credit: Honorary Colonel David Bensadoun.

I wish everyone an excellent training season this summer and I look forward to hosting the BACK BREAKER forced March competition in Potton this September at the “RMR Eastern Townships base” near Owl’s Head.

Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

HCol David Bensadoun

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