Major Leah Byrne of Cranbrook takes command of 44 Engineer Squadron

The Army Reserve in the Kootenays is commanded by a new leader — a Cranbrook Major who took over 44 Engineer Squadron at a change of appointment parade Saturday, May 14, in Trail.

Major Leah Byrne, from Cranbrook, took over command from Major Achim von Wiedner.

Major Byrne is an Air Force Public Affairs Officer who served 20 years in the Regular Force and has been working with the Reserves in Cranbrook since 2011. Major von Wiedner took over command of the Squadron last year.

etiring from the Canadian Armed Forces after a long and distinguished career.

“I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to lead such a highly skilled and diverse group of men and women,” said Major Byrne. “We are growing the Army presence in the Kootenays. I’m excited to be part of that, as it means we will have stronger capabilities in the region as we enhance our training, as well we are providing job opportunities.”

44 Engineer Squadron is based in Trail and Cranbrook and is part of 39 Combat Engineer Regiment. Soldiers from the unit are trained as Combat Engineers and Engineering Officers. In the Army Reserves the role of engineers includes constructing and maintain roads and airfields, building bridges, providing safe drinking water, constructing defences, detecting and disposing of mines, as well as operating heavy equipment.

44 Field Engineer Squadron originated in Trail in 1947. Recently the Squadron provided reserve soldiers as augmentees for Canada’s deployment to Afghanistan.

Members of the troop parade in Cranbrook at the Kennedy Drill Hall and in Trail at the Kemball Armoury, on Thursday nights at 7 pm Anyone interested in joining the Army Reserve is encouraged to contact the unit or a Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre.