Naval Boarding Parties: A tactical revolution

Sixteen sailors graduated from a Naval Boarding Party course in Halifax on February 20. This was the first course taught by Naval Tactical Operations group instructors on the east coast.

Naval Boarding Parties: A tactical revolution

By MS Matt Swain,

A sea change is underway for the Royal Canadian Navy force generates Naval Boarding Parties to prepare for operations. To meet the demands of an ever-evolving global security environment, and ensure interoperability with its own capability, the Naval Tactical Operations Group (NTOG) has been tasked with updating and delivering the training for the RCN’s Naval Boarding Parties (NBP) via the NBP Basic and Supervisor courses, as well as Team Training.

Over the last five months, with the successful completion of three NBP Basic courses (two in the west, one in the east), both the east and west coast fleets have transitioned to NTOG instructed NBP courses. Following a fully updated instruction program delivered by staff that have the background and experience teaching these skills throughout the world, this fast-paced, physically demanding, six-week course teaches students a wide variety of skills including, legal considerations, searching techniques, personnel control skills, tactical shooting, comprehensive close quarter battle (CQB), and Combat First Aid.

Each phase of the course ends with a challenging exam that students must pass in order to progress. If the student is unsuccessful, they are returned to their respective units and, depending on the nature of the failure, may be given the option to reattempt. The course ends with an exciting and realistic final exercise designed to test all aspects of the course. As the Senior Instructor, PO1 Chris Nowlan is tasked to ensure that the course provides tactical realism and a challenge that leaves successful students with a sense of accomplishment from their hard work.

Earning the new NBP badge is not a free pass. Each badge is earned by achieving progressively more challenging course milestones that ensure students have the right attitude and motivation, regardless of rank. For AS Saif Morsy (WENG TECH), after completing the course on 20 February 2020 in Halifax, this was just the case.

“What set the tone for me at the start of the course was how [the Staff] made a point to say that they wanted to give us a product that we could be proud of, and that was evident throughout the entire course,” he said.

In addressing the manner of instruction, Morsy stated “Safety and respect were at the forefront of every lesson and there was never a point where I felt (the course) compromised either of them. Training was scaled to the ability of the students, which gave people who had less experience more time and confidence to hone skills for assessments. It genuinely felt like an environment that students could grow in, whether it was through a leadership role or developing assertiveness through team focused skills.”

In keeping with NTOG’s culture of invested Small Team Leadership, officers are expected to both lead the team and, by creating a positive training atmosphere, mentor junior sailors to overcome any challenge they may encounter. For SLt Tori Brown (NWO), one of two women who successfully passed and were badged upon graduating the course, the NBP Basic course delivered challenges and exposure to the tactical aspect of the RCN.

“When I heard I was going to be on the first NBP Basic Course taught by NTOG, I was a little intimidated.”

In terms of meeting her expectations, she stated, “I knew that the NBP course was challenging, but I wondered what was to come now that NTOG was taking over. This was the most challenging course I’ve done in my career, but it was also the most rewarding. I take a lot of pride in myself and everyone who graduated the course. The instructors had high expectations but were 100% invested in everyone’s success and worked hard to ensure all students reached their full potential.”

NBP training is an exciting and rewarding opportunity for motivated, fit and adventurous RCN personnel looking for a challenge. If this sounds like an interesting pursuit, there are some simple guidelines to ensure a successful application. First and foremost, express interest to your immediate supervisor. They will ensure your chain-of-command contacts the correct people to register you on the next available course. You must be current in weapons handling with passing grades on C8/Sig Sauer refresher training within the past 24 months. Furthermore, you must be comfortable (i.e. not phobic) at heights or in confined space. Finally, an NETP qualification (including the OJT mod), and currency in standard first aid are also prerequisites. It should also be noted that, while there is no minimum physical fitness standard, past graduates would concede that potential applicants who arrive for the course prepared for a physical and mental challenge will enjoy the challenge far greater than those who struggle on day one.

For any further information, please contact the Senior Instructor, PO1 Chris Nowlan or Lt(N) Jacob Killawee.

Parati Enim Tempestas – Ready for the Storm