Combat Engineers ensure that troops can live, move and fight on the battlefield. They also perform construction and maintenance tasks, operate vehicles and equipment in support of engineer operations, and maintain field installations and facilities.
Combat Engineers have the following responsibilities:
- Construct and maintain roads, airfields, heliports, bridges, causeways, rafts, permanent and temporary buildings
- Construct field defences and obstacles
- Provide drinking water by testing, purifying and filtering local supplies and by constructing local distribution systems
- Detect and dispose of mines and bulk explosives
- Demolish roads and bridges, and lay minefields to prevent enemy movement
- Maintain and operate engineering equipment, including weapons, vehicles, heavy equipment and supplies
- Provide engineer communications on the battlefield
The starting salary for fully-trained Combat Engineer is $49,400 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training, the starting salary may be higher. Combat Engineers who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression and advancement.
The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Canadian Forces physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.
After Basic Training, Army recruits go to a Military Training centre for the Soldier Qualification course for approximately one month, which covers the following topics:
- Army Physical Fitness
- Dismounted Offensive and Defensive Operations
- Reconnaissance Patrolling
- Advanced Weapons Handling
- Individual Field Craft
Combat Engineers attend the Canadian Forces School of Administration and Logistics in Borden, Ontario, for two weeks of driver training. They are then required to attend the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering at Gagetown, New Brunswick for 20 weeks of training in the following subjects:
- Construction of field defences and obstacles
- Construction of roads, airfields and helicopter landing sites
- Construction of rafts and bridges
- Radio communications for combat arms operations
- Mathematics, military writing, basic military organization, and military history
- Personal camouflage and camouflage of section positions
- Operation of troop weapons and section defensive tasks and procedures
- Basic procedures of rigging and firing of explosive charges, mine laying and booby-trapping
- Use and care of section tools and safety equipment
Combat Engineers may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:
- Combat Diver
- Soils Analyst
- Explosive Ordnance Disposal
- Instructional Techniques
As they progress in their career, Combat Engineers who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include:
- Radio Communications — Field Operations
- Water Supply — Advanced
- Power Boat Operator
- Heavy Equipment Operator
This position is available for part-time employment through the Reserves. Reservists generally work part-time for a Reserve unit in their community. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.
Reservists train with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required professional standards of the job. If additional training is required in order to specialize skills, arrangements will be made by the home unit.
Typically, Reservists work or train with their home unit for at least four evenings and one weekend per month, from September to May of each year. They are paid 85% of Regular Force rates of pay and receive a reasonable benefits package.