Eric Depenau. /LEGION BRANCH 266 PHOTO

By Laura Keil
Valemount’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Eric Depenau is heading to the Czech Republic this weekend to take part in military training with his other role in the Canadian Reserve Forces.

He was selected as a Reserve Forces delegate to the Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers (ICRO) 2023 Young Reserve Officer Seminar in Brno, Czech Republic taking place over four days starting this weekend.

Depenau says only a few Canadians (in the single digits) are selected to attend each year and it is a nationally competitive process. He says the four days will include information sharing and training, including a look at global security and current events.

“The situation in Europe would certainly be an area of discussion.”

One thing is certain: participants will not be idle.

“The whole event is very condensed and has participants training from morning to night.”

Depenau says the training would likely include workshops on negotiation, planning operations, presentations on current events and new technologies, for example.

“The goal of the seminar is to assist in integrating leadership from NATO nations in working with one another, developing understanding of NATO’s structure and mission planning as well as honing leadership skills,” he says.

The organization hosting the seminar represents roughly one million reserve soldiers from 36 allied and partner nations making it the worlds largest reserve officer organization.

Presenters and participants from all over the world are expected.

“Thirty six countries participate in the ICRO so the audience will be very diverse,” he says.

Depenau, an Infantry Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces Army Reserve and member of The Rocky Mountain Rangers, is the Officer Commanding Bravo Company (The Rocky Mountain Rangers’ B company in Prince George).

“In plain terms, I look after the Prince George part of our organization.”

Depenau has been with the reserve force for a decade and took part in four named operations including a tour as a Diplomatic Administration Officer based in Kuwait (OP IMPACT), support to the evacuation of Afghanistan during OP AEGIS (based in Kuwait), a member of OP DISTINCTION in France during Vimy Ridges 100th anniversary, and as part of the domestic response to COVID-19 on OP LASER.

“I am immensely grateful to be able to serve in the Canadian Armed Forces and very thankful to have the support of the Village in continuing to balance the responsibilities of my role as CAO. These are roles that require a great deal of time and attention and I just want to thank my family and the teams of people who I work with in supporting me to pursue these opportunities – look forward to bringing this experience back home.”