3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment

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3rd Battalion
3 RCR emblem.gif
Cypher of The Royal Canadian Regiment
Active 9 December 1950 – 21 July 1954
6 July 1970 – present
Country Canada
Branch Canadian Army
Type Regular Force
Role Light role
Size One battalion
Part of Royal Canadian Infantry Corps
Garrison/HQ Foulkes Barracks – Petawawa
3rd Battalion- Petawawa
Motto(s) Pro Patria (For Country)
Mascot(s) Stone statuette named Soldier of the Queen
Commanders
Officer Lieutenant-Colonel K.M. Reeves, CD
Deputy Commanding Officer Major J.T.E. Kenney, CD
Regimental Sergeant Major Chief Warrant Officer A.J. Durnford, MMM, CD
Insignia
Crown Gold

3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment is a regular force light infantry battalion of the Canadian Forces. As of 2011, 3 RCR was designated Canada's first airmobile battalion. The unit has served Canada well throughout its history, and 3 RCR's most notable service occurred in 2003–2004, when it was the initial Canadian Forces unit to serve as part of ISAF, deploying to Kabul in August 2003. After seeing the unit in the reconstitution phase of the army training operations framework cycle, it was prepared once again for deployment. It stood up as the core of "Task Force 3–08 Battle Group" (TF 3–08 BG) in January 2008 and assumed duties in Kandahar in September of that year. 3 RCR redeployed to Canada in April and May 2009. Most recently,[when?] "O" Company deployed as a component of the Task Force 1-10 BG.

History[edit]

Formation[edit]

The Royal Canadian Regiment was formed 21 December 1883, under the name of the "Infantry School Corps". The regiment was known by a variety of names until "The Royal Canadian Regiment" became official. There have been three occasions when there have been more than one battalion of The RCR. First was during the time of the Boer War, when 2nd (Special Service) Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry constituted Canada's initial involvement in that war. 3rd (Special Service) battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry occupied Wellington Barracks in Halifax, NS and conducted garrison duties there. The second was at the tail end of the Second World War when a second battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment was formed for duty in Japan. Finally, during the Korean War, 3rd battalion was formed on 10 January 1951. 3 RCR served in Korea from March 1953 until March 1954.

During a reorganisation of the Canadian Army in the early 1950s, 3 RCR ceased being on the regular force order of battle. 3 RCR was the designation of the militia battalion of The RCR.

3 RCR was once again a regular force battalion when it assumed duties as a mechanised infantry battalion of 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, taking over 3 (Mechanized) Commando of the Canadian Airborne Regiment. It served in Baden, Germany, until 1984, when it was replaced by 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. It then was based in Winnipeg as part of 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group. It then returned to Germany in 1988, where it stayed until 1993, following the end of the Cold War. It was then designated a so-called "10/90" battalion and was based at CFB Borden. (These battalions were composed of 10% regular force members, and 90% reserve force members.)

3 RCR was stood up as a full-fledged regular force infantry battalion in 1996, and was designated as a light infantry battalion, consisting of three rifle companies, a combat support company and a combat service support company:

  • M Company (Airborne)
  • N Company (Air Assault)
  • O Company (Mountain)
  • Q Company (Combat Support)
  • R Company (Combat Service Support)

Korean War[edit]

3 RCR replaced 2 RCR in Korea in early 1953. Early in May the battalion withstood a strong enemy assault on its position about Hill 187. The attack was repulsed, but the engagement cost the Canadians heavy casualties – 26 killed, 27 wounded and seven taken prisoner.[1]

3 RCR as a reserve battalion[edit]

In 1954 two London, Ontario, Militia regiments, the Canadian Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) (MG) and The Oxford Rifles were amalgamated and redesignated The London and Oxford Fusiliers (3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment). This unit thus became the reserve component of The RCR. In 1958, it was renamed 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (London and Oxford Fusiliers).

The Militia battalion changed from the 3rd to the 4th Battalion in 1970 when The Canadian Guards were reduced to nil strength and the soldiers of that regiment's 2nd Battalion (at CFB Petawawa) became the restored 3rd Battalion, The RCR, on the Regular Force order of battle. This amalgamation also brought to the regiment the perpetuation of a number of battalions of the First World War Canadian Expeditionary Force, including the 1st, 33rd, 71st, 142nd and 168th Battalions as well as the 2nd Battalion of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps.

Cold War[edit]

3 RCR was one of two infantry battalions that formed Canada's commitment to NATO. It assumed duties from 3 Mechanised Commando, Canadian Airborne Regiment in 1977. It was stationed in Baden-Söllingen, Germany, as part of 4 CMBG. It remained there until 1984, when it was replaced by 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. 3 RCR was then stationed in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 1988, 3 RCR was once again rotated to Germany. At this time, it deployed with four rifle companies instead of the usual three rifle companies. It consisted of the following:

  • M Company (Mechanized Infantry)
  • N Company (Mechanized Infantry)
  • O Company (Mechanized Infantry)
  • P Company (Mechanized Infantry)
  • Q Company (Combat Support)
  • R Company (Combat Service Support)

3 RCR remained in Germany until 1993, when 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group was stood down following the end of the Cold War.

Bosnia and Herzegovina[edit]

3 RCR deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina twice as part of SFOR. The first tour in 1998–1999 as Rotation 3 for Operation Palladium under command of Lieutenant Colonel Jorgensen and then again in 2001 as Rotation 8 under command of Lieutenant Colonel Thompson.

Afghanistan[edit]

3 RCR has served in Afghanistan three times. The first tour was in Kabul in 2003/2004 as "Roto 0" for Operation Athena as part of ISAF, the second consisting of Reconnaissance Platoon in 2005 as augmentation of the Royal Canadian Dragoons Recce Squadron, during "Roto 4" of Operation Athena and "Roto 0" of Operation Archer in Kandahar. Later as "Roto 6" for Operation Athena in Kandahar in 2008/2009. 1st Platoon, M Company of 3 RCR was featured in the Discovery Channel documentary series Combat School while training for their first operational deployment to Afghanistan.

Kabul[edit]

As part of Canada's commitment to Afghanistan as part of ISAF, 3 RCR deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan, in the summer of 2003. It was based out of Camp Julien. The 3 RCR Battlegroup (3 RCR BG) was augmented by "C" Company, 1 RCR. 3 RCR BG served in Kabul until early 2004, when it was replaced by a battle group of the Royal 22e Régiment. In 2005 the Reconnaissance Platoon of 3 RCR, including a sniper section, was attached to the Royal Canadian Dragoons Recce Squadron for "Roto 4 of Operation Athena and the subsequent "Roto 0" of Operation Archer as Canada's involvement in Afghanistan transitioned to Kandahar.

Kandahar[edit]

In anticipation of its deployment to Afghanistan in Autumn, 2008, 3 RCR reroled into a mechanised infantry battalion. It formed the core of Task Force 3–08 Battle Group (TF 3–08 BG), augmented by:

(A Squadron was augmented by a troop from the Royal Canadian Dragoons.)

3 RCR BG served in Kandahar, Afghanistan from 21 Sept 2008 until 15 April 2009.

In 2010 O Company deployed, in support of 1 RCR, for Task Force 1 – 10.

Post-deployment and reconstitution[edit]

In 2010, the M (Parachute) Company Group, consisting of combat engineer, mortar team, medical, and signals attachments took shape. They deployed as a group for the first time in February 2011 participating in an exercise with the United States Army 82nd Airborne Division.

Shortly thereafter, N (Airmobile) Company, deployed to Yuma, AZ to participate in the United States Marine Corps WTI. This was done IOT set the foundations for 3 RCR's re-rolling into the Canadian Army's officially designated Air-Mobile Battalion.

O (Fast rope) Company were given greater attention, as well, and have begun preparations to give the battalion a fast-rope capability and have successfully conducted their first series of fast-rope training exercises.

The advanced training currently being conducted provides the Light Airmobile Battalion three feasible insertion methods for light infantry tasks. Currently, 3 RCR is preparing/training in order to welcome the Chinook Helicopter to Petawawa.

Commanding officer[edit]

Lieutenant-Colonel Kris Reeves enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces in 1996 and graduated from the Royal Military College in 2001 with a degree in Business Administration. He has served with the 1st and 3rd Battalions of The Royal Canadian Regiment, The Canadian Parachute Centre, 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Headquarters, and the Directorate of Army Staff at Canadian Army Headquarters. Within these units he has had the privilege of holding command of Mechanized Rifle and Reconnaissance Platoons as well as Light Infantry Rifle and Administration Companies; and has also held duty assignments as Deputy Commanding Officer, Senior Staff Officer, and Brigade Chief of Staff.

Early in his service, he completed the Advanced Reconnaissance, Patrol Pathfinder, US Army Ranger, and Army Operations Courses. Later, he graduated from the Joint Command and Staff Program, and holds a Master’s Degree in Defense Studies.

Lieutenant-Colonel Reeves has been deployed at home and abroad. This has included large domestic support operations here in Canada, a small unit exchange to the UK, major international exercises in the US, and two Battle Group rotations to Afghanistan; one to the city of Kabul and one to Western Kandahar Province.

Regimental sergeant-major[edit]

Chief Warrant Officer Durnford enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces on 03 January 1991. After completing recruit and basic training at The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle School in Garrison Petawawa, he was posted to Wolseley Barracks in London, Ontario, and assigned to the 1St Battalion, of the Royal Canadian Regiment.

During his 26 years of service, he has served in the 1st and 3rd Battalions, The Airborne Holding Unit, the Canadian Special Operations Regiment, and most recently with Director General Military Careers.

During his career, CWO Durnford has completed Infantry Section Commander Course, Infantry Platoon 2IC Course and Infantry Company Sergeant-Major Course. Some of his qualifications include Basic Para, Military Freefall, Patrol Pathfinder and Joint Terminal Attack Controller.

CWO Durnford has spent most of his career in the field force with the 1st Battalion, the 3rd Battalion and the Canadian Special Operations Regiment. He was promoted from Private through to Sergeant while serving with the 1ST and 3rd Battalion and one of the highlights during this time was Patrol Commander for the Cambrian Patrol Tm (Silver Medal), and Team Manager for the following Cambrian Patrol Tm (Gold Medal). CWO Durnford was promoted to Warrant Officer in 2006 during his employment with the Canadian Special Operations Regiment, and one of the highlights was the year he spent in Ottawa working on the stand-up of the SOF OP Trade. In 2012 he was promoted to MWO and employed as the Mike Coy SM, and the following year he returned to the Canadian Special Operations Regiment as the DSM. In 2016 he was promoted to CWO while attending the yearlong French course, and following French was posted to D MIL C as the Infantry Corps Career Manager.

Chief Warrant Officer Durnford has six operational deployments overseas. From 1992-1993, he deployed with the 1st Battalion The Royal Canadian Regiment to Bosnia. In 1994-1995 he deployed to Bosnia with the 1st Battalion The Royal Canadian Regiment. In 2001 he deployed to Croatia with the 3rd Battalion The Royal Canadian Regiment. In 2003-2004 he deployed to Afghanistan with the 3rd Battalion The Royal Canadian Regiment. In 2005 he deployed to Afghanistan with The Royal Canadian Dragoons Battle Group. In 2007-2008 he deployed to Afghanistan with the Canadian Special Operations Regiment. In November 2016 he was invested as a member of the Order of Military Merit.

Cap badge[edit]

"An eight-pointed diamond cut star; upon the star a raised circle surmounted by the crown; within the raised circle, the block letters "VRI", the Imperial Cypher of Queen Victoria." (Description of the badge of The RCR as presented in Regiments and Corps of the Canadian Army, published by the Army Historical Section, 1964)

The letters VRI on the cap badge of The RCR stand for Victoria Regina Imperatrix, which is Latin for "Victoria, Queen and Empress". The right to wear the imperial cypher and crown was granted to the regiment by Queen Victoria in 1893.

When a royal or imperial cypher forms part of the badge of a regiment it is normal for it to change with each succeeding sovereign. During the period 1901 to 1919, the officially authorized versions of the regiment's cap badge were those with Edward VII's and George V's cyphers, although the regiment continued to use the "VRI" ensigned badges throughout this time while petitioning for their formal return. In 1919, George V granted The Royal Canadian Regiment permission to wear "VRI" in perpetuity – a unique privilege.

Regimental Colours[edit]

The Duke of Edinburgh, Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Canadian Regiment, presenting the 3rd Battalion with their Regimental Colours in April 2013

The 3rd Battalion received their regimental colours from Prince Philip, the regiment's colonel-in-chief, during a private working visit to Toronto in April 2013.[2] The colours were received at Queen's Park and followed by a parade back to Fort York.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]