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Reserve Training

Kirkhill

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That's why we'd need some enlightened senior leadership to figure out this integration thing.

As I recall the British Army, for example, has no such thing as 'Summer Block Leave' in the same way that it is regarded as a Gawd Given Right for most in the CAF.

In accordance with some master plan, developed somewhere and referred to as the 'Arms Plot' I think, as I recall some units might be taking leave while others are spooling up (or returning from) operations, while others support training in the UK or elsewhere. Everyone gets their leave, just not all at the same time, more or less, because: National Defense Priorities. (I especially like how it was referred to as a 'Plot').

We're smart enough to figure out the way, if there is the will to do some unofficial 'union busting'.

Which I strongly doubt there ever will be of course :)

From time to time it becomes apparent that the original name for the Canadian Army was the Permanent Active MILITIA.

Gotta git home to git them crops in.
 

GR66

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In re-reading this thread it really does lead one to despair. I see no real hope of the Reserves ever getting the type of equipment and support (logistical, technical and legislative) that would allow them to field fully formed Reserve units into a combat situation.

At the same time the lack of matching equipment, out-of-sync training cycles, no integrated command structure and general culture of separation don't even make it possible to rapidly and easily plug in platoon sized Reserve elements into a Reg Force unit without an extended work-up period.

What makes matters worse is that low levels of manning in the Reg Force units make Reserve augmentation a requirement for sustained deployments. What happens when we don't have the luxury of a 6-month work-up period to prepare our forces for deployment?

The impression I get is that we're basically treating our Army Reserves as a pool of partially pre-trained conscripts that we can use to bring our Reg Force units up to full strength in less time than it would take to train people right off the street and without the political issues that would surround actual conscription.

Maybe this system wouldn't be so horrible if the Reg Force units were for the most part up to strength and didn't have to rely on the Reserves so much for augmentation for a rapid deployment and if the Reg Force had all the CS and CSS elements it needed to succeed in a peer conflict.

What's the path out of this without unrealistic expectations of buckets of money to throw at the problem?
 

daftandbarmy

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In re-reading this thread it really does lead one to despair. I see no real hope of the Reserves ever getting the type of equipment and support (logistical, technical and legislative) that would allow them to field fully formed Reserve units into a combat situation.

At the same time the lack of matching equipment, out-of-sync training cycles, no integrated command structure and general culture of separation don't even make it possible to rapidly and easily plug in platoon sized Reserve elements into a Reg Force unit without an extended work-up period.

What makes matters worse is that low levels of manning in the Reg Force units make Reserve augmentation a requirement for sustained deployments. What happens when we don't have the luxury of a 6-month work-up period to prepare our forces for deployment?

The impression I get is that we're basically treating our Army Reserves as a pool of partially pre-trained conscripts that we can use to bring our Reg Force units up to full strength in less time than it would take to train people right off the street and without the political issues that would surround actual conscription.

Maybe this system wouldn't be so horrible if the Reg Force units were for the most part up to strength and didn't have to rely on the Reserves so much for augmentation for a rapid deployment and if the Reg Force had all the CS and CSS elements it needed to succeed in a peer conflict.

What's the path out of this without unrealistic expectations of buckets of money to throw at the problem?

As usual: pray for a war to sort it all out :)

It's not all that dire.

Troops get trained, courses get run, exercises happen, people get recruited, everyone gets paid. DOMOPS come along just about every year to keep people keen and engaged. Some CT over to the Rag F, which is normal, and some come back from the Reg F to continue serving, which is less common. Mess life goes on. Activities in the platoons are generally well run and there's a good core of Junior Officers and NCOs that make the world go round, in many ways much better than in the past. A well trained militia Cpl/Pte can just about be the equal of their Reg F counterparts.

If there happens to be a bad CO or RSM in place, people check out for awhile and come back when things improve, without any horrible consequences: 'Sorry sir, I just got really busy at work/had a baby/ started a new course at school etc'. If there's a bad Bde Comd & staff in place, there's enough wiggle room in the system to be abe to do what you know is right because, in many ways, they are really not the boss of us. I've rarely seen anyone ever get fired, even for being openly disrespectful. No one who is any good really cares about their PERs, they just want to be good soldiers. The ones who do really, really care about their PERs are fast tracked out of the untis so it's easy to wait them out. It's a great little government job, with alot of choice and security and without a union, but with guns.

It's a wonderful little low cost temp agency, that the Reg F doesn't have to manage with all its weirdness, that keeps the lights on for a larger mobilization framework of some kind which, of course, is what it was all designed for in the first place.
 

FJAG

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One of the nice little things I remember about being a young gunner in the sixties was that I didn't know about all the troubles all above me and really didn't care.

Someone taught me how to shoot a rifle and then let me do it several times a year. Someone taught me how to fire a howitzer, how to be a radio operator (including how to charge the lead acid batteries) how to drive a deuce with a gun on the back and finally how to compute firing data and then let me practice all of that several times a year with rather large bullets -- and I got to hang out with my buddies in the canteen (the whole time I was still too young for the wet canteen so we had to do our beer chugging somewhere other than the armories).

I knew that there was a major who commanded the battery as I saw him on parade every week but for me the highest officers that I actually got to talk to were a couple of lieutenants who were the gun position officers and they were pretty decent guys. As far as the senior NCOs were concerned, we had a bunch but never saw them as they hung out in the mess and were rarely on exercise with us. On one exercise in Meaford I was made a detachment commander still as a gunner because there were too few NCOs around to do it. Bombardiers ran the show and I was over the moon when I finished my junior NCO course and was finally promoted to one and got to carry a swagger stick.

One day, just before making bombardier, I was standing sentry on the guns on the parade square during a smoke break and the troop commander came over to me and suggested I should go for officer training. I was gobsmacked but I did apply but for the regular army because by then I was skipping school to do maintenance on the CP 3/4 ton I was in charge of as a driver/Sig, and other things that I liked doing. Even Basic arty officer training was fun. It wasn't until about a year into being with the regiment that all the negative things about budgets, and troop reductions, and reductions in units and regimental bull shit and Trudeau that I became a cynic - there was an unspoken competition amongst us subbies for who could be the most cynical - I conceded the win to Randy Stowell.

I won't say that I and my fellow gunners lived in blissful ignorance, but all the noise and negativity that was all around us simply didn't matter as long as we got to do cool things. Hell, we wore battle dress with putties and that didn't get us down as long as you got a little bling every once in a while to put on it (I don't mean medals. A lanyard, a forage cap and layer's badge when you qualified as gun number would do nicely for boosting your ego - did I mention a swagger sticks?).

Long winded way of saying that I agree with D&B. Things could be massively improved to make the whole system so much more effective but, in the meantime, even what there is, it provides a service for the country and more importantly, it fulfills the needs of a whole lot of young folks looking for something exciting and different from all the other things that drive their lives.

I wouldn't change a day of my time as a young gunner. The day that my buddy Brian got a $10.00 bounty for bringing me down to the armouries as a potential recruit pretty much changed the direction of my entire life.

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GR66

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So if this is the case, then maybe the pipe dreams of Reserve Brigades and Battalions from the Force 2025 thread should be forgotten. Maybe that means that the Mission Tasks from the Army Reserve StAR program are the way to go? Something "bite sized" but operationally useful that each individual Reserve Regiment can focus on without the materiel, logistical and command requirements of fully deployable Reserve maneuver units.

I understand that the intent was for each Reserve Unit to have at least 7x the manpower requirements to fulfill the Mission Task assigned. So maybe focus on consolidating those Reserve units that aren't large enough to take on a Mission Task so that every Reserve unit has a Mission Task assignment?

Personally however I think that a general expansion of the Artillery Reserve (towed, SP, SHORAD and Loitering Munitions) is something that I believe would have a significant impact on the overall combat capability of the Army.
 

Brad Sallows

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The estimate can be simplified.

Accept the following limitation on the aim: "Minimum BTS appropriate to each position must be achievable within 21 days each year, not more than 7 of which may be contiguous".

Now, what can you do with that?
 

FJAG

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So if this is the case, then maybe the pipe dreams of Reserve Brigades and Battalions from the Force 2025 thread should be forgotten. Maybe that means that the Mission Tasks from the Army Reserve StAR program are the way to go? Something "bite sized" but operationally useful that each individual Reserve Regiment can focus on without the materiel, logistical and command requirements of fully deployable Reserve maneuver units.
Nah. I always think that if we can see that we can do better than we are doing then we should aspire to a higher goal and develop a plan to get there.

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GR66

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To dream the impossible dream? I know Canada can and should do better than what is currently being done and Canadians deserve better for what we are paying, but it looks like there are so many different fundamental changes that need to be done that a whole series of incremental steps will need to be taken to get there. The question is, what first step(s) are the ones that are most important to building a strong foundation on which to build going forward?

Is it breaking down the Reg Force/Reserve Force divide? Tackling the issues caused by having such a large number of Reserve Regiment fiefdoms? Equipment issues? Legislation? Each one of these is a difficult task to take on and can't all be done at once, so where do you start?
 

FJAG

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To dream the impossible dream? I know Canada can and should do better than what is currently being done and Canadians deserve better for what we are paying, but it looks like there are so many different fundamental changes that need to be done that a whole series of incremental steps will need to be taken to get there. The question is, what first step(s) are the ones that are most important to building a strong foundation on which to build going forward?

Is it breaking down the Reg Force/Reserve Force divide? Tackling the issues caused by having such a large number of Reserve Regiment fiefdoms? Equipment issues? Legislation? Each one of these is a difficult task to take on and can't all be done at once, so where do you start?
The very first thing is that you have to structure any reforms as part of an overarching business transformation plan and get all the proper ducks in a row. Most government initiatives to transform an agency fail because too little attention is paid to the fundamentals of change management. It is a difficult and lengthy process but if the steps are ignored, the chance of failure increase dramatically.

There's a quick view at five principles here.

Rand has looked at the methodology of implementing integration of reserve and active force components in the US armed forces and from those experiences (hint thy think the Marines did it best) have set out some best practices here.

It's not like there aren't any roadmaps available, but number one of the best practices is "Establish a Need and the Vision for Change". I think the Canadian Army basically trips on this threshold because neither the Reg F nor the Res F has ever truly established a need or a vision. There has been no high placed champion for change come forward to articulate it, nor have we had a crisis demanding a change, nor has there been a unified approach come from the ground up.

The number two best practice is "Create a Coalition to Support the Change". We consistently fall down on that one too. Just read

There's little sense in even talking about the remaining best practices are or what incremental steps need to be taken because without the first two best practices being met it simply becomes a hollow exercise like discussing line diagrams and what gear falls into which slot - fun but totally meaningless.

So ... because I like fun and meaningless things, here are my sine quo nons:

1) minor changes to legislation and regulations which will provide for fixed year terms of service and minimum mandatory training so that training competence to a collective level can develop. I say minor because most of the legislation and regulations are already there but are not being fully used and have some minor impediments to their usage;

2) legislation which establishes a covenant between the Army and the reservist, his family and his employer which ensures to the maximum extent possible that the reservist's service is predictable and fair to all parties and causes the least amount of disruption;

3) a restructured recruiting and training establishment within the Army to streamline training and create parity at the DP1 - 2 level between Reg F and Res F members;

4) a clear analysis of which trades/classifications and units are required for day-to-day, full-time service because of their need to be available on short notice or who have special skills that need continuous training and those which are not required on a day-to-day basis and can be manned by part-time personnel; and

5) structure of hybrid units of Reg F and Res F members with the ratio of Reg F and Res F members established as a result of item 4).

Everything else, from organizations to equipment etc is up for grabs because they simply don't matter if you don't get the first five right.

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Colin Parkinson

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I will still advocate the slow growth of useful Class B positions in the armouries, Service Battalions, arty units, CE units and Armoured units should all have a full time vehicle tech with the Service battalions having two-three and supporting the unit guys. Basic equipment sets for each position and they are committed to supporting each other and have the authority to order spare parts or even buy them locally for Milcots. Give the infantry and armour units, Class B gun plumber, who can also help the other units maintain and inspect MG['s, Carl G, mortars, etc. Sigs get a Class B to maintain electronics. Slowly but surely you see a increase in vehicles ready for service, weapons that work properly, if you encourage cross unit support at the armoury floor level, then there will be more and more willingness to work with each other and connections are made. In the Lowermainland, we had a tightknit group of Class B QM's that always helped each other and no memo's were needed.
 

daftandbarmy

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So if this is the case, then maybe the pipe dreams of Reserve Brigades and Battalions from the Force 2025 thread should be forgotten. Maybe that means that the Mission Tasks from the Army Reserve StAR program are the way to go? Something "bite sized" but operationally useful that each individual Reserve Regiment can focus on without the materiel, logistical and command requirements of fully deployable Reserve maneuver units.

Yes. I would say so.

And the Militia can only accomplish the 'Mission Tasking' thing if we have an 'OMLT' of Reg F trainers, plus all the right kit, allocated to each unit.
 

MilEME09

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I will still advocate the slow growth of useful Class B positions in the armouries, Service Battalions, arty units, CE units and Armoured units should all have a full time vehicle tech with the Service battalions having two-three and supporting the unit guys. Basic equipment sets for each position and they are committed to supporting each other and have the authority to order spare parts or even buy them locally for Milcots. Give the infantry and armour units, Class B gun plumber, who can also help the other units maintain and inspect MG['s, Carl G, mortars, etc. Sigs get a Class B to maintain electronics. Slowly but surely you see a increase in vehicles ready for service, weapons that work properly, if you encourage cross unit support at the armoury floor level, then there will be more and more willingness to work with each other and connections are made. In the Lowermainland, we had a tightknit group of Class B QM's that always helped each other and no memo's were needed.
Every unit should have an F echelon, including support trades. As long as they are supported properly, my unit in the past has successfully attached class A techs to other units and units were very welcoming if it, unit politics ended it though
 

Blackadder1916

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I will still advocate the slow growth of useful Class B positions . . .

If significant changes were to be made to full time unit support (FTUS - to borrow an acronym from south of the border) then I suggest that the best continuity could be achieved by instituting programs similar to MILTECH (Military Technician - US Army) and ART (Air Reserve Technician - USAF). The "technician" moniker doesn't mean that these pers are exclusively wrench turners, they're not. What they are is dual status - civil service and military reservist. They are paid as civil servants for their Mon to Fri full time jobs filling positions in reserve organizations and additionally paid as drilling reservists on those occasions (one weekend a month drill, yearly 2/3 week training, military courses, etc) when required to be exclusively a reservist. They also accrue the normal pension and benefits of a civil servant and additionally get the same benefits as any other reservist (including the military retired pay, i.e. pension). One of the requirements of the CS position is being in the reserves (and being able to maintain that status) and the different positions (and CS pay grade) are tied somewhat to the military qualifications/rank/unit position the person is filling. I known a few who have done it (as a career, including advancement) from enlisted wrench turners up to and including the Chief of Air Force Reserve.
 

daftandbarmy

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Every unit should have an F echelon, including support trades. As long as they are supported properly, my unit in the past has successfully attached class A techs to other units and units were very welcoming if it, unit politics ended it though

Shocked Futurama GIF
 

FJAG

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Every unit should have an F echelon, including support trades. As long as they are supported properly, my unit in the past has successfully attached class A techs to other units and units were very welcoming if it, unit politics ended it though
I like the US Army's Brigade Service Battalion concept. Rather than having A Echelons integral to each manoeuvre battalion, all supply and maintenance functions in the brigade are carried out through the BSB. The BSB has both a maintenance company and a distribution company which service the entire brigade but also one Forward Support Company for each manoeuvre battalion which is designated and equipped specifically to support the manoeuvre battalion it is assigned to.

In effect the FSC is the A Ech company of the manoeuvre battalion and acts just like ours but with the benefit of being under the command of the BSB which is responsible for the training and manning of each FSC. This allows for a more flexible response to the support needs of the various components of the brigade and means that each technician, section, platoon and company within the brigade is managed and assessed by a single chain of command that specializes in these services. It does make for a very large BSB.

In the National Guard, the FSCs are geographically located with the manoeuvre battalions they support.

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MilEME09

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I like the US Army's Brigade Service Battalion concept. Rather than having A Echelons integral to each manoeuvre battalion, all supply and maintenance functions in the brigade are carried out through the BSB. The BSB has both a maintenance company and a distribution company which service the entire brigade but also one Forward Support Company for each manoeuvre battalion which is designated and equipped specifically to support the manoeuvre battalion it is assigned to.

In effect the FSC is the A Ech company of the manoeuvre battalion and acts just like ours but with the benefit of being under the command of the BSB which is responsible for the training and manning of each FSC. This allows for a more flexible response to the support needs of the various components of the brigade and means that each technician, section, platoon and company within the brigade is managed and assessed by a single chain of command that specializes in these services. It does make for a very large BSB.

In the National Guard, the FSCs are geographically located with the manoeuvre battalions they support.

🍻
On of our issues is the lack of maintenance officers in the Reserves, my unit has the first one finishing their DP1 for the first time in 10 years. Reality is reserve log officers do not seem to get any training on how to utilize their maintenance assets in a service battalion context. We seem to act independent and oblivious to the other unless we are needed. There are two solutions in my mind either;

A) create a CSS common course for officers and senior NCOs to allow them to understand and coordinate all CSS functions, including some type of 1 week of shadowing a mentor.

B) separate service battalions back into separate log and maintenance battalions and concentrate all resources in these units. Maintenance companies would then have Light Aid detachments that would be assigned to support field units and be given the specialized kit and training needed depending in who they support.
 

FJAG

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On of our issues is the lack of maintenance officers in the Reserves, my unit has the first one finishing their DP1 for the first time in 10 years. Reality is reserve log officers do not seem to get any training on how to utilize their maintenance assets in a service battalion context. We seem to act independent and oblivious to the other unless we are needed. There are two solutions in my mind either;

A) create a CSS common course for officers and senior NCOs to allow them to understand and coordinate all CSS functions, including some type of 1 week of shadowing a mentor.

B) separate service battalions back into separate log and maintenance battalions and concentrate all resources in these units. Maintenance companies would then have Light Aid detachments that would be assigned to support field units and be given the specialized kit and training needed depending in who they support.
It's kind of funny, my experience with the supply and maintenance system goes back to the 70s and early 80s, and I always considered the maintenance establishment of the day to be one of the most knowledgeable and best run organizations in the Army. My battery's and our regiment's systems for maintaining heavy tracked vehicles were magnificent although sometimes the system worked at less than par when an item had to leave the unit for higher level servicing. Parts generally flowed okay which was good because the best maintainers can do very little without the parts.

Reading these threads for the last few days has me worried not only because of the parts issues that I knew have been an issue for some time but also because it seems, reading between the lines, that the training system for maintainers--especially the reserve maintainers--seems to be having serious issues.

The fact that vehicles change or that there a varying fleets at varying ages is not something new. It's built right into the commercial automobile industry which has long ago adapted to a parts and maintenance system that can meet customer requirements over a very broad category of vehicles. So there should be lots of "best practices" for training and service delivery to model on.

I get very concerned when I hear how often a young recruit has to wait to get the necessary DP 1 training at Borden. That too seems to have gone on for a long time and should have been fixed ages ago.

I'm too far away from things to know how deep the problem runs (or even if there truly is a problem) but as I've said several times on this board, for three years as a BK of a heavy tracked battery, my maintenance section were by far my favourite people. Without their dedication and hard work we wouldn't have rolled out of the gun park.

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FormerHorseGuard

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I have always thought since I was a Private that reserve units should be paired up with another reserve unit to train with. Inf Regiment A trains with Inf Regiment B. A Unit acts as the aggressor unit for one exercise, does the attacks, does the reccees etc on B Unit. B Unit trains on the defenders side of the house. The next exercise they switch sides. Nothing worse than knowing the HQ Coy , made up of supply techs, drivers, clerks, cooks and officers and SNR NCOs who had no troops or actual job in the field were going to be the attacking force. You knew when it was coming because suddenly they are all gone, you knew something was coming. The enemy force would be so small there was no effective training as they could not attack the whole position. Having another unit doing the planning, the attacking, their logistical support group doing their jobs. The defenders preparing for an attack, using patrols, night vision equipment etc to spot the attack coming. The aggressor unit can send out patrols, to bring back information to help plan the attack etc. In my mind this would be real training, and have realistic out comes in the training world. Leaders would be training to do their jobs better as they are not planning both sides of the battle so to speak. Unit A CO plans his side, Unit B CO plans his side. Then switch the next month for the other role.

Range training would be more effective, more safety staff, more access to coaches etc, most of more competitive out coming because one Unit wants to be known as the home of the better shooters.

Once the Major summer exercise comes along and units are put together there is some sort of group bonding and co-operation between units.

I realize it is not as simple as I made it out to be but it could be made to work.

As for training with the Reg force as a Res pay clerk doing CAC 92 as Inf as this was the last time my former regiment would be INF ( was rebadged in the fall ) it was very interesting to watch the Reg Force act as enemy force. I think the French Commando unit of the CAR was our enemy force. Watching them move thru the woods at speed, watching them attack and run away , then attack again was very good training and every bit as educational for training purposes. After the attacks the enemy force would tell us our mistakes, what we did right, and how to improve.

The Reg Force and Res Force can work together once the leadership on both sides can put aside the jokes and the put downs.
Examples UN op the Force Commander needed skilled troops to rebuild a school, after asking around he found out he tradesmen who could do the job because that was the real trade they had back home in Canada, not just handymen but actual tradesmen who could lead to get the job done.

Road damage assessment after an earthquake was carried out by a Reserve Member for Canadian and US troops giving aid to the country, why was it done by Res Force guy? Because his real job was doing high way damage assessments for the Ontario Government.

Medak Pocket shows with leadership Res Troops can do the job required.

A-Stan lots of Reserve troops and officers were sent as quick as they could volunteer and get upgraded training. Just like the Reg Force some of the troops were very good, others were just boot fillers.

Some of the Reg Force are going to point to the quick promotions in the Res world as reasons to not think of quality soldiers, but when there is no one else to do the job, and bloggins shows up every week night and weekend for training, then goes home and works his full time job or goes to school without missing a beat there has to be some sort of reward for that. Sometimes doing the job of some one 2 ranks higher because no one showed up or there is no one to do the job that is training in itself. Sometimes all that shows up because of family and work is the younger high school age privates and corporals , some very low ranked officers, but some how the exercise gets pulled off or the range weekend.

Res Force also has to learn the Reg Force guys do this job every day and giving up a weekend to train the Res Force is a drag, take away from their family and social life, with no extra pay, maybe they get CTO, maybe get FOA. So there is give and takes to both sides.

But what do I know I spent 5 years on class B at an Army HQ working along side the Res and Reg force everyday. I found it a drag to give up a weekend off to go do the unit exercise because I was expected to show up and do my job. Been out 26 years and know everything can be improved


 
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