Making the most of an opportunity

Department of Defence

Trooper Ruby Olsson made the most of a six-month trip to Canada earlier this year, where she spent some time serving with a Canadian Armed Forces Primary Reserve unit.

The Canadian Reserve Foreign Forces Service Agreement allowed Trooper Olsson to join the British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught’s Own) on exercise.

“The people at the Duke of Connaught’s Own were incredibly welcoming, particularly those in Assault Troop where I was assigned,” Trooper Olsson said.

“The command team went out of their way to train me on the Colt Canada C7 rifle, and were great at explaining many of the regiment’s tactical standard operating procedures.

“I noticed many similarities between the ways we operate, such as establishing observation posts, close-target reconnaissance, patrolling, as well as some differences, such as in-contact drills.”

Trooper Olsson joined the Army Reserve in September 2021 and has been with the 1st/15th Royal NSW Lancers since March 2022.

The 24-year-old has already notched up a few highlights, including participating in Exercise Waler Run in 2022.

“This was a weekend exercise involving live-fire section attacks, live-fire night shooting and live-fire ambushes,” Trooper Olsson said.

“This was my first live-fire field activity, and really gave me a heightened awareness of safety and the importance of effective communication.”

It held her in good stead for the field exercise with her Canadian unit, Exercise Highland Cavalry.

“During the exercise I was able to learn and practise Canadian drills, but also showcase my Australian Army skillsets,” Trooper Olsson said.

“I was able to share my knowledge on dismounting cavalry drills and long-range and close-target reconnaissance drills.

“The joint assault with infantry on exercise was also an excellent opportunity to see a large-scale assault with a lot of moving pieces.”

Trooper Olsson will soon begin a PhD on climate change adaptation at the Australian National University while working part time for the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.

She hasn’t given up on returning to Canada and linking up with the Duke of Connaught’s Own once more.

“I want to return to Canada for another six months in the future, and if I can, I would love to work with DCO [Duke of Connaught’s Own] again,” she said.

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