Author Topic: POW Training 1980s  (Read 2159 times)

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Offline Lightguns

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POW Training 1980s
« on: April 12, 2017, 11:36:58 »
Anyone seen this?  I never really thought about this as anything more than a training simulation.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/canadian-soldiers-prisoner-war-training-wainwright-alberta-1.4053351

I have been hog tied and left laying in a mud puddle, laid on the floor of Grizzly, handcuffed and used as a foot rest, handcuffed in my underwear and not fed or watered for a half day.  Been in a little concertina cage with 10 other guys with bucket to pee in.  It was all in good exercise fun or at least I thought so back then.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2017, 11:41:16 by Lightguns »
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Offline X Royal

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Re: POW Training 1980s
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2017, 11:02:40 »
Although I wasn't there when this happened, it's not beyond reason to believe without proper supervision that training like this could go over board.

Offline FSTO

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Re: POW Training 1980s
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2017, 11:37:28 »
Although I wasn't there when this happened, it's not beyond reason to believe without proper supervision that training like this could go over board.

Yes somebody has to be there to pull back on the leash before the lads go all lord of the flies.

Offline PuckChaser

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Re: POW Training 1980s
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2017, 12:55:50 »
Although I wasn't there when this happened, it's not beyond reason to believe without proper supervision that training like this could go over board.

This is why there's a real training plan with proper supervision and trained staff to administer it now.

Offline RocketRichard

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Re: POW Training 1980s
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2017, 13:15:22 »
This is why there's a real training plan with proper supervision and trained staff to administer it now.
Yes, things sure have changed since the 80's.


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Offline Rifleman62

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Re: POW Training 1980s
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2017, 15:59:35 »
There were Int pers conducting "interrogations" as well as an after action debrief by the C of C and Int. Included tips on surviving, dos and don't.
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Offline FormerHorseGuard

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Re: POW Training 1980s
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2017, 21:21:01 »
After reading the news story first on facebook, then here. I have some thoughts to share.

1) i have read many first hand accounts of Canadians being held as pows, not an easy time.
Germans exucuted pows for escape attemps, for any reason including just not wanting to deal with having pows to take care of. POWS were forced to march or herded in closed rail cars and not fed or watered or any medical attention
No bathrooms on a cattle car for people or privacy.
Forced labour in mines etc, handcuffed for hours each day as a form of pay back . Life was not always great for Canadian POWs in the hands of the German.
2) Canadian POWs in the Pacific, faced daily torture, no food, or food shortages, no medical treatments, daily beatings, forced physical labour, human medical test subjects, forced death marches. No red cross interventions

3) Korea conflict pows were treated no better.

Personally was picked to attend the training camp for A-stan as civilie, they had a lecture on being captured, what might happen to us, rape, torture, beheadings or something worse.
I think it was only good guess work, nothing concrete was known as what might or would happen if taken.

This sort of training should not be conducted at unit level, it would lack the experts and knowledge, and lack the control factors.
This sort of training requires medical persons to conduct interviews and give medical aid if there is a breakdown
Requires experts in knowing limits before breaking a person. Also requires help in rebuilding a person at end of exercise.
But this sort of training is important if done right.
Sounds like this training was not well planned or supervised.
Just my personal thoughts right or wrong
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Offline SupersonicMax

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Re: POW Training 1980s
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2017, 21:50:46 »
Formal SERE training is not conducted at the unit level, at least not in the RCAF.  It is run by CFSAT in Winnipeg with some very good practical training.  Because of the nature of the training, the staff is carefully selected and there is good supervision to avoid abuses.

IMO, continuing training could be conducted at the unit level with a reduced practical aspect.

Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: POW Training 1980s
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2017, 22:37:15 »
After reading the news story first on facebook, then here. I have some thoughts to share.


This sort of training should not be conducted at unit level, it would lack the experts and knowledge, and lack the control factors.
This sort of training requires medical persons to conduct interviews and give medical aid if there is a breakdown
Requires experts in knowing limits before breaking a person. Also requires help in rebuilding a person at end of exercise.
But this sort of training is important if done right.
Sounds like this training was not well planned or supervised.
Just my personal thoughts right or wrong
0

And it must not be a good idea fairy scheme where the officers decide they are going to do and the NCO's follow them blindly "cuz the OC told us to".

It must be a course with proper staffing and oversight. The course officer must be no less than a senior captain with an MWO as his CSM. The course should have a senior MedTech or PA on staff as well.
And not everyone needs a course like this. Aircrew, high risk units (CSOR?) etc. Just my thoughts.

And I never took training like this but then again when I joined the earth was still ruled by T Rex....
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Offline George Wallace

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Re: POW Training 1980s
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2017, 10:56:44 »
We had the Field MPs run us through this in 4 CMBG.  We also ran one in conjunction with 1 CAG, where we were the enemy searching for the Baden pilots.  In all cases that I know of, in 4 CMBG and then back in 2 CMBG, no one overstep the line and abused personnel to the extent that these three claim.
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Offline George Wallace

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Re: POW Training 1980s
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2017, 10:40:44 »
Here we go again;


Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act.

From CBC

Quote
'Embarrassment to Canadians': abuse, humiliation occurred at bases across country, soldiers say
Recruit treatment, lack of apology 'tarnishing' Canada's image, says torture victim advocate
By Rosa Marchitelli, Rachel Ward, CBC News Posted: Apr 24, 2017 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Apr 24, 2017 8:25 AM ET


The alleged abuse of Canadian soldiers at the hands of their own military during training exercises was widespread during the '80s and '90s, according to former military members.

After a Go Public investigation into a 1984 training exercise at Canadian Forces Base Wainwright, which was described by some participants as "torture," we were contacted by about a dozen ex soldiers who had similar stories. They say the alleged abuses occurred not just in Wainwright, Alta., but across the country — from Gagetown, N.B., to Petawawa, Ont., to Chilliwack, B.C.

The training has been called an "embarrassment to Canadians," and has prompted calls for Canada's minister of national defence to apologize.

Former recruits say they suffered abusive treatment on "escape and evasion" courses, meant to teach soldiers how to avoid being captured by the enemy.

         'We were tortured': Recruits speak out about military training

The courses were intended to simulate war, but the former military men allege the training crossed the line into abuse when instructors changed the program to "prisoners of war" scenarios. 
The exercises included:

  • Waterboarding, an interrogation method that simulates drowning.
  • Deprivation of sleep and food for multiple days.
  • Beatings.
  • Electrical shocks.
  • Forced to crouch, kneel or stand at attention overnight.
  • Left with broken fingers or other injuries.

​Greg Alkerton, of Port Alberni, B.C., who was a soldier from 1985 to 1994, says he took part in two training exercises that included POW-type training that crossed into abuse.

Alkerton says drains were taken off urinals, and recruits were forced to lie on the bathroom floor, face down, as the urine of their instructors was flushed on them.

"The floor is basically flooded with this stuff," he recalls.

The soldiers also were forced to crawl through an open sewer, he says, left out in the rain naked, then brought into a tent where female military police officers would interrogate them, making derogatory remarks about their genitalia.

"In retrospect, it did teach you to be a harder individual but … what they taught me to do is be a person with PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder]," Alkerton says.

"They taught me not to be able to relate to my family. They taught you to be hardened against all the things in life."

'Crammed into 2x2 boxes'

Another former soldier says after avoiding capture on one of the escape and evasion courses at CFB Wainwright in 1988, he witnessed what happened to fellow recruits who did not. The man asked CBC not use his name for fear of reprisals.

"It was –50 C with the windchill, there was no food, there was pails of water dumped on guys ... standing out there for hours," he says.

The next year, the man says he and others were tasked with building a prisoner of war training camp at CFB Wainwright and then witnessed what it was used for when new recruits were brought in.

"They actually dumped water on these guys crammed into two by two boxes with barbed wire. They poked at them with sticks, threw rocks at them, pails with muddy water dumped over them. They were left in there for hours," he says.

Go Public put the former soldiers' latest stories of abuse to the military.

In an email, a spokesperson for the Department of National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces says, "while we understand that individuals might feel wronged by the training they received some 30 years ago, we hope they come forward and contact us so that we may look into this further."

Investigation under review

Alkerton says he regrets never filing a complaint with the military.

But, as CBC News reported, after years of therapy and a depression and a PTSD diagnosis, another former soldier, Jeffrey Beamish, did file a complaint two years ago.

Military police investigated in 2015 and determined there wasn't enough evidence to lay charges.

That investigation is now under review to ensure it was "handled fairly and appropriately," according to a statement from a spokesperson for Canada's minister of defence.

National Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan won't comment on the soldiers' experiences while that review is happening.

"We strongly encourage anyone who has an issue with an experience they had while in the Canadian Armed Forces to come forward ... to ensure they receive the support they need," Sajjan's spokesperson wrote in an email to Go Public.

'Tarnishing' Canada's image

The executive director of the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture, an organization that provides services to refugees who are victims of torture, calls what happened to the soldiers and the minister's failure to apologize for it "an embarrassment to Canadians."

"By allowing this issue to linger longer, they [the government] are tarnishing the image of Canada," Mulugeta Abai says.
He believes the training described by ex-soldiers was torture, which goes against Canada's 1949 commitment to the Geneva Convention.

"In one way, we are setting up organizations like the [UN] Committee Against Torture," Abai says.

"And the other, we are hearing about cruel and inhuman and degrading treatment to our people."

Trauma lasts decades

While the training continues to haunt some former soldiers, others have contacted Go Public to say they went through  similar courses and saw them as a normal part of military training. They also question why the injured soldiers are coming forward now, decades after the events.

Registered clinical counsellor Jennifer Primmer, from Calgary, who works with military veterans who have experienced traumatic events, says some people can "bottle up" traumatic experiences for decades, while others walk away unharmed.

In the early 2000s, the Canadian Forces put in new standards and a course curriculum to teach escape and evasion skills, and what to do if captured. The training includes continuous medical and psychological oversight, and instructors are filmed during the course.

About the author

Rosa Marchitelli
@cbcRosa
Rosa Marchitelli has more than a decade of experience reporting and in the anchor chair. She is currently host of the CBC News segment Go Public. Go Public stories come almost exclusively from people who write in story ideas. The segment seeks to shed light on untold stories that are of public interest and hold those responsible accountable.




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Offline jollyjacktar

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Re: POW Training 1980s
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2017, 10:59:01 »
We had the Field MPs run us through this in 4 CMBG.  We also ran one in conjunction with 1 CAG, where we were the enemy searching for the Baden pilots.  In all cases that I know of, in 4 CMBG and then back in 2 CMBG, no one overstep the line and abused personnel to the extent that these three claim.

I remember doing POW cage training for the INT types in Wainwright when I was with 1MPPL.  The "POWs" did have bags over their heads and they were restrained as per SOP of the day as well as there was annoying noise blaring over the loud speaker system.  They were made to kneel and when we interacted with them we didn't speak to them but would thump on our thighs to let them know we were there to move them around etc.  They would be taken into the INT types for their part of the process.  We weren't rough with the guys going through the training and made sure no lines were crossed in our dealings with them.  I am also sure, it was a walk in the park compared to whatever treatment they would receive in a real world scenario, especially in today's bad guy reality.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: POW Training 1980s
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2017, 11:16:18 »
I wonder how much we should be sharing about this subject on an open forum given that this is currently 'in play' in a legal context?
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Offline Cloud Cover

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Re: POW Training 1980s
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2017, 13:18:58 »
Well, speaking for myself only, I have learned from this thread is that whatever the E/E and interrogation training standards, supervision, and methods might have been in the 80's and 90's, they are not the standards of today, which is good considering we have gone through at least one war since then!!   NOBODY here seems to be approving, endorsing or encouraging of the things that are described in the article.   

My thoughts are: given our current enemies in warfare, who do not play by the rules and apparently prefer to dismember, drown or torch their prisoners in cages, preparing our armed forces members for what might be expected in case of capture seems to be an essential and bona fide military skill to be learned. I do not know what the tipping point into illegal treatment might be in a training case scenario where the members are (ostensibly) consenting to some level of severe treatment that (again) remains within the bounds of essential military training and also within the law. 

That being said, it must be done properly and lawfully, without abuse of authority or senseless, sadistic use of power.  I am of  the view that no member of the armed forces should be ordered under threat of court martial to undertake this sort of training. That is not consent.  However, the same member must understand that they are declining to learn an essential military skill, and therefore may no longer be employable.  Classic military Catch 22 for the member, and potentially for the country if this skill is removed from training experiences.

Offline George Wallace

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Re: POW Training 1980s
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2017, 13:40:02 »

That being said, it must be done properly and lawfully, without abuse of authority or senseless, sadistic use of power.  I am of  the view that no member of the armed forces should be ordered under threat of court martial to undertake this sort of training. That is not consent.  However, the same member must understand that they are declining to learn an essential military skill, and therefore may no longer be employable.  Classic military Catch 22 for the member, and potentially for the country if this skill is removed from training experiences.

Absolutely, it should be done properly and lawfully without abuse of authority or senseless, sadistic use of power by the people running it.  It should also be as realistic as possible.  It is not intended to be a course where you all sit around and hold hands and sing "kumbaya".

I am curious as to where the "ordered under threat of Courts Martial to take this training" entered this discussion. 
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Re: POW Training 1980s
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2017, 13:45:44 »
... I am curious as to where the "ordered under threat of Courts Martial to take this training" entered this discussion.
Not mentioned in either of the two stories linked earlier in the thread - seems to start here:
... I am of  the view that no member of the armed forces should be ordered under threat of court martial to undertake this sort of training. That is not consent ...
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Offline George Wallace

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Re: POW Training 1980s
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2017, 14:46:02 »
That is why I am asking Cloud Cover where they got this from.
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Re: POW Training 1980s
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2017, 16:58:35 »
I wonder how much we should be sharing about this subject on an open forum given that this is currently 'in play' in a legal context?

An excellent point, let's please steer clear of conjecture and bear in mind that the media may take any comments made here [out of context] and add fuel to the story.

I'm sure we are all sensitive to the possible outcomes and fair treatment for all involved.
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Offline Simian Turner

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Re: POW Training 1980s
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2017, 17:16:35 »
There is now a CAF training institution in Kingston dedicated to this: Canadian Forces Conduct after Capture Training Centre.

Open source: http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/peter-shawn-taylor-is-canada-ready-for-our-next-pow
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Re: POW Training 1980s
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2017, 15:39:43 »
What rifle is he firing in the picture attached to the article? The GPMG I get.

Offline George Wallace

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Re: POW Training 1980s
« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2017, 16:13:42 »
What rifle is he firing in the picture attached to the article? The GPMG I get.

Is that not the old C3?
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Offline Loachman

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Re: POW Training 1980s
« Reply #21 on: April 25, 2017, 16:51:10 »
Yes.

The Parker-Hale standard 7.62mm (and only) sniper rifle of the time.

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Re: POW Training 1980s
« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2017, 13:28:15 »
I recall the C3 having a different stock than that? Could have sworn it was more squarish, but time does funny things to memories.