While on exercise NIHILO SAPPER 2016 members from 4 Engineering Support Regiment (4 ESR) not only sharpened their tactical and technical expertise but completed projects that will benefit the community of Bathurst, NB for years to come.
Amongst the projects that 4ESR members completed was the building of a 45 metre ACROWTM bridge that spans the Tetagouche River.
The bridge took two weeks to complete, from Nov. 4th to Nov. 17th, thanks to the hard work of a little over 20 troops from 42 Horizontal Construction Squadron.
“All the members working on that task were ensured to do hard work on that project. That will stay and that will help the communities of Bathurst. Everyone was very enthusiastic to work from the bridge side,” said Sgt. Jeremy Lepage, bridge commander.
Soldiers from other squadrons of 4ESR also pitched in to help with parts of the bridge.
Built in partnership with the Chaleur Three Trails Development Committee, the bridge was opened to the public on Nov. 18. It is expected that the bridge will attract hikers, snowballs and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) users not only from the Bathurst area but from across the country.
The bridge is also expected to help the local economy of the Bathurst region, and in turn that region of New Brunswick, which relies heavily on ATV and nature tourism. A fact that is “quite a thing of pride amongst our troops,” noted Capt. Danny Radford, Heavy Equipment Troop Commander for 42 Horizontal Construction Squadron.
“I think it was quite rewarding to work on a task of that scale, quite challenging. It pushed our technical limits. I believe all personnel involved in building had never worked on a bridge of that scale,” he added.
Close to 500 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members were deployed on exercise NIHILO SAPPER 2016, that took place from Nov. 1 to Nov. 22 The unit, based out of CFB Gagetown, is a team of trained Combat Engineers. This annual exercise was designed to ensure the skills of 4ESR members were up to par in preparation for any missions abroad and at home.
Other projects completed by 4ESR while on the exercise included the clearing of more than three kilometres of trail systems, major renovation of a local snowmobile shelter and the construction and deconstruction of a 500-person Relocatable Tent Camp. Members also took part in Counter Improvised Explosive Device training, Combat Dive, and Port Inspection Training and Joint operational training with Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Summerside.
All activities simulate tasks that the unit would be employed to perform on an operational mission.
“During Exercise NIHILO SAPPER 16 we were able to complete all of our imperative training objectives, and as a result, we are ready to deploy in support of Government of Canada initiatives as required. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the City of Bathurst and its surrounding communities for being so accommodating to my team throughout this exercise,” said LCol. Christopher Cotton, Commanding Officer, 4 Engineer Support Regiment.