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Open house held for new military armoury in Cranbrook

Col. Paul Ursich, Commander of 39 Canadian Brigade Group, and Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt cut the ribbon to officially open the new Cranbrook armoury for 44 Engineer Squadron at an open house and opening ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019.
– Barry Colter photo; courtesy Columbia Valley Pioneer

The Canadian Army and the City of Cranbrook celebrated the start of a greater presence in the community with the official opening of a new armoury for 44 Engineer Squadron.

44 Engineer Squadron, a reserve regiment of the Canadian Forces, is part of 39 Combat Engineer Regiment, in turn part of 39 Canadian Brigade Group. It is based out of Trail and Cranbrook and made up of combat engineers and other support trades from both cities.

The new armoury is part of a planned expansion of the unit in the Kootenay region. Until now, the squadron’s Reserve combat engineers have been parading in Cranbrook out of temporary accommodations. Needing more space for equipment and its growing numbers, the unit signed a lease for a new location last October.

Roles of the Army Reserve

“One of the roles of the Army Reserve is to support operations,” said Col Paul Ursich, Brigade Commander, 39 Canadian Brigade Group. “It’s a key role . . . whether that’s World War One, where we’re going off to a full-scale war, or whether it’s a UN operation, or a mission in Afghanistan, or a domestic operation, like we’ve seen in British Columbia in the last two summers.

“Part of what the soldiers here are going to be doing is to be ready for that kind of stuff. It’s another way for the City to help contribute to Canadian operations in support of our own communities such as Cranbrook.”

Mayor Lee Pratt also spoke, about the benefits the enhanced presence of the military would bring to Cranbrook.

In the Army Reserves, the role of engineers includes constructing and maintaining roads and airfields, building bridges, providing safe drinking water, constructing defences, detecting and disposing of mines and operating heavy equipment.

Source:Columbia Valley Pioneer. Click here to read the full article.