CAF Stories: Tank Days

Video / September 19, 2016

Transcript

Today is the celebration of the Battle of Aquino, which the Ontario Regiment fought in 1944, in Italy. I’m Master Corporal Raine, I work in 3 Squadron, Canadian Forces Joint Signal Regiment, Kingston. I’m here at the Ontario Regiment Museum, as I do in my spare time, running communications portal.

We have vehicle displays from World War II, from Vietnam, from Korea, and from the Gulf War. The engineering effort required for this is immense. We’re dealing with eighty-year-old technology in a lot of cases. We have the Sherman tanks which are amoung the only operational ones in the world. Keeping those in working order is no easy task. We have a number of former vehicle mechanics; I think we have two current serving vehicle mechanics, who volunteer their time here on the weekends. We have a number of Eastern Block vehicles:  a T-54, T-55 and a BMP-1, which are cared for by a former Russian mechanic who worked on these in the Russian army.

The people who do this are here every Saturday, they’re here every Wednesday for the retired people, and the zeal they bring to trying to bring history to life, is unreal. We have one guy who has three M113’s in his driveway at home.

Coming here I got to maintain my skillset, I got to work with some of the older gear, and I’ve always been a history nut. But when I arrived, I realized that some of the vehicles were running without intercoms, we were on the road without communications, and I took it upon myself as a signals professional to remedy the problem.

This complements my trade in so many ways. I’m working more on the electronics side here, as opposed to simply operating, but I’m controlling nets, I’m setting up radios, I’m introducing people to voice procedure and making sure everything is done properly, because DND was nice enough to give us a radio frequency for the weekend. So I am very much acting as a control station the same way I would at work.

To see all this gear and to know that I had a large part in putting it together, making sure it works, and ensuring that everyone can go home at the end of the day, fills me with almost as much pride as wearing the uniform.

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