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Canadian Rangers— our eyes and ears in Canada’s remote locations.

By Martin Zeilig

Master Warrant Officer Ash Degelman calls the Canadian Rangers “the eyes and ears of the north, the sensors in our northern and sparsely populated communities.”

It is part of our defence plan, adds the Company Sergeant Major for Charlie Company 4 CRPG, which is located at 2800 Saskatchewan Avenue.

“With an intimate knowledge of the land, our Canadian Rangers act as the eyes and ears of the Canadian Army in Canada’s remote locations and are guides, advisors, and teachers to the rest of the Canadian Armed Forces, while providing Ground Search and Rescue services where required,” says the Government of Canada website.

“The Canadian Rangers is a singularly unique organization of the Canadian Army in which outdoors men and women can provide their existing abilities and experiences, combined with acquired military skills, to produce a much-needed layer in Canada’s defence.”

Charlie Company is responsible for patrols that lie within Manitoba and Saskatchewan, explains MWO Degelman, a fulltime Reservist, who was interviewed on June 10th at Charlie Company HQ.

He added that in Manitoba, there are nine patrols: Lac Brochet, Tadoule Lake, Lynn Lake, Churchill, Gilliam, Shamattawa First Nation, Snow Lake, Grand Rapids, Swan River.

“At company headquarters we take care of all training and administration and logistics to support Rangers in our remote and isolated communities,” he said, while noting that there are currently 220 Rangers and 14 fulltime staff under the responsibility of Charlie Company.

There are about 5000 Rangers across Canada.

“Rangers are Class ‘A’ Reservists,” MWO Degelman said.

“They’re in the military 100 percent. In Charlie Company, we have a very diverse group. Some of our patrols are located on First Nations Reserves, others in bigger towns. It’s a good mix.”

There is a modernization process occurring in the Rangers (and in the CAF in general), he added.

“Things like policy and general support to them has been looked at in a large scale for bringing them up to speed in today’s day and age,” he said.

“For us as a unit, we’ve been quite busy. Last year we celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Canadian Rangers. Last summer, we participated in a small unit exchange with NorForce – an Australian unit that is very similar to the Canadian Rangers.”

“We’re hosting a unit from NORFORCE this summer in Northern Manitoba. Then, we’ve had a multitude of small patrol exercises and company level exercises that are ongoing.

“I like the diversity of being with the Rangers. They’re great people with tons of knowledge of the land and surrounding areas. It’s a privilege and an honour to work with these people.”

Attached to Charlie Company HQ is a large warehouse. It contains everything from uniforms, camping equipment, vehicle equipment, including snowmobiles, consumable equipment, and much more.

“We can equip them for everything,” MWO Degelman says, during a walk through the warehouse.

“We can load trucks and sort things out in here.”

“We’ve certainly had Regular Force members join the Rangers. Being out in the bush with the troops is the best thing about this job.”

No life like it.

For more information about the Rangers: see the Government of Canada website.

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