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  • Martin Zeilig

Winnipeg Jets FanFest 2022

One of the most popular outdoor displays at the Winnipeg Jets FanFest at the Bell MTS Iceplex on September 24 was the G Wagon belonging to the Fort Garry Horse (FGH) Regiment.

Children were eager to explore inside the G Wagon, a training vehicle, and have a turn on its spinning rooftop turret.

Based out of McGregor Armoury, the FGH was joined by displays from 402 “City of Winnipeg” Squadron, and 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron’s Explosive Ordinance Device (EOD) Group and the Military Police.

Several thousand people were in attendance at the FanFest, which featured an on-ice training session by the Jets, a large stage where TSN Sportscaster Sara Orlesky interviewed players and team coach, Rick Bowness, an area where Jets merchandise was being sold, and inflatable bouncy castles for the children, among other activities.

“We’re here with all of our equipment that’s used for conventional munitions and improvised explosive disposal,” said Captain James Dunn, who was one of three personnel at the EOD table.

The EOD display contained deactivated explosives, various items from different eras including a mortar round, a couple of grenades, a rifle grenade, and a land mine.

They also brought along two improvised explosive device disposal robots.

“There’s been a great response from the crowd,” Capt Dunn said.

“Adults and children have shown interest in the cool robots and asked questions about the equipment and what the different items are. The people are in good spirits and are happy to see the military out.” Brooke Koskie said her family, in particular the three children, were fascinated by the items at the EOD display.

“We’re big Jets fans,” Brooke said.

“I think it’s really interesting to see the military display, and to get some background information on the robots and how they can deactivate bombs. The kids are pretty mesmerized by that.”

Master Corporal Trevor Sparrow, one of members of the FGH at FanFest, said the public response to the military displays was amazing, particularly to the G Wagon.

“There was a lineup all day,” he remarked.

“The kids love spinning around in the turret. That seems to be one of the main attractions. I love interacting with the public. It’s one of the best ways of getting the youngsters interested in a career in the military later on in life. By showing a face to the public, it becomes more personal.”

Gloria Kelly, Public Affairs Officer at 17 Wing, was at the event, too.

“We’ve been participating in the FanFest since the inception of the event,” Kelly said.

“We’ve had just an amazing response today. 17 Wing has given out close to 800 gift packs to children. Posters, flags, and pins that highlight the RCAF. We’ve had many people say to our people in uniform ‘Thank you for your service.’

“We’ve been involved with the Jets since they returned to Winnipeg. It’s a way to connect with them and the community at large.”

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