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Last Updated: 05 June, 2016

1.0     Introduction

This article provides a brief overview of the Canadian Army’s Advanced Reconnaissance Patrolman (ARP) Course.

The “…Advanced Reconnaissance Patrolman Course, which is fairly considered one of the most challenging displays of an infantryman’s skill-at-arms, fitness and leadership…” (Jourdain, 2013, p.29).

These reconnaissance specialists do not form part of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM or CSOFC) Special Operations Forces (SOF) community, a “fourth service” (Horn, 2012, p.48) of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

2.0     Women and the Advanced Reconnaissance Patrolman Course

In accordance with current Government policy on the employment of women in the Canadian Armed Forces, military service as an Advanced Reconnaissance Patrolman is open to male and female volunteers.

3.0     Tier 1 or Tier 2 Status

Canadian reconnaissance platoons are not considered special operations forces and therefore do not have a Tier 1 or 2 classification.

Special Operations Forces (SOF) units that undertake direct action missions are typically classified as Tier 1 units. Other SOF units are referred to as ‘Tier 2’ units because, typically, they fulfil a supporting role for the Tier 1 units.

4.0     Training Hierarchy

Training for the ARP Course is delivered at the 5th Canadian Division Support Base, Gagetown.

5.0     General Requirements and Eligibility for All Candidates

Subject to the requirements outlined below, all CAF infantry officers and non-commissioned member are eligible to attend the ARP training programme.

General Requirements for all candidates:

  • Completion of Basic Reconnaissance Patrolman Course;
  • Obtain approval from chain of command;
  • Minimum rank of Corporal or a commissioned officer.
  • Complete Patrolman Swim Test (Section 6.0);
  • Complete medical assessment; and
  • Complete fitness assessment.

Candidates require an Infantry background, I am unaware of any non-Infantry personnel who have attended the ARP course.

6.0     Patrolman Swim Test

The aim of the Patrolman Swim Test (PST) is to validate a candidate’s ability to successfully traverse in water, in order to safely and competently execute reconnaissance tasks on the ARP Course.

Criteria for the PST include:

  • The entire test is performed without the aid of a floatation device.
  • Swimming from the shallow end to the deep end without touching the sides or bottom of the pool wearing combats, combat boots, tactical vest (no additional weight) and weapon.
  • A weapon sling is permitted.
  • Swimming in a tactical position, while maintaining direct observation with opposite end of the pool.
  • Once at deep end, by direction of staff, the candidate will push off from the edge and drop their weapon to the bottom of the pool.
  • On staff command, the candidate will submerge and retrieve the weapon.
  • The candidate must show proficiency in both tasks without displaying any fear and/or panic of the water.
  • Once the test has started, the candidate cannot start over.
  • Failure to complete either task of the PST on the first attempt will result in a re-test after a 10 minute rest period.
  • Failure to complete the re-test will result in return to unit (RTU).

7.0     Pre-Course Training

Candidates for the ARP Course may have access to pre-course training which maybe 1-2 weeks in duration. This pre-course training may include (Snook & Smith, 2012):

  • Orders process;
  • Navigation;
  • STANO; and
  • Communications.

8.0     Outline of the ARP Course

The ARP course is 60 days in duration, of which approximately 40 are spent in the field.

The course is divided into two phases:

  • Phase 1: Consists of patrol base operations, known as Scorpion String 1, and includes point area and route reconnaissance.
  • Phase 2: Consists of mounted and observation posts. Candidates are assessed on the development of enemy positions in a combat team context.

In order to ensure that the course remains relevant, “…greater focus is being placed on subjects such as surveillance and CBRN reconnaissance.” (Friesen, 2013, p.109).

9.0     Magazines

  • The Maroon Beret: The Voice of the Canadian Airborne Brotherhood.
  • Pro Patria: Regimental Journal of the Royal Canadian Regiment.

10.0     Useful Links

11.0     References

Friesen, J. (2013) Royals at the Infantry School. Pro Patria: Regimental Journal of the Royal Canadian Regiment. 2013, pp.109.

Horn, B. (2012) “We Will Find a Way”: Understanding the Legacy of Canadian Special Operations Forces. JSOU Report 12-2. February 2012. Available from World Wide Web: http://jsou.socom.mil/JSOU%20Publications/12-2_Horn_CanadianSOF(Feb12)_final.PDF. [Accessed: 17 April, 2016].

Jourdain, S. (2013) CAFA/ARAC Airborne Soldier of the Year Award. The Maroon Beret: The Voice Canadian Airborne Brotherhood. 2013: The Year in Review, pp.29.

Snook, A. & Smith, A. (2012) Recce Platoon. Pro Patria: The Journal of the Royal Canadian Regiment. 2012, pp.44.

The Maroon Beret (2013) 3 RCR: Mike Company (Para). The Maroon Beret: The Voice of the Canadian Airborne Brotherhood. 2013: The Year in Review, pp.24.