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Article / October 11, 2016 / Project number: c-ar-1011-ex-collaborative-spirit

Amidst swirling red smoke in the Ortona urban operations village, the whine of diesel engines on the Matawa and the thunder of artillery, tank, mortar and small arms fire at J-Tower civilian participants of this year’s Exercise COLLABORATIVE SPIRIT 16 had the opportunity to truly immerse themselves into a Canadian Army experience.

Exercise COLLABORATIVE SPIRIT 16, which took place at 4th Canadian Division Support Base Petawawa from 19 to 23 September, provided an opportunity for Canadian Army stakeholders and civilian leaders to experience a personal and in-depth understanding of Canadian Army capabilities, equipment as well as the professionalism and skill of Canadian soldiers. 

“The aim of Exercise COLLABORATIVE SPIRIT,” extolled 4th Canadian Division commander Brigadier-General Stephen Cadden, “is to familiarize senior government personnel, industry leaders, and influential Canadians with the combat capabilities of the 4th Canadian Division and the Canadian Army.  This exercise is an ideal platform to showcase our personnel and equipment to Canadians so they can know that their military is strong, proud, and ready”.

This was achieved by breaking participants into platoons, outfitting them with Canadian Army uniforms and kit and taking them through three different stands accompanied by assigned fire team partners. 

Over 400 participants, invited through the Joint Command and Staff Program, the Young Presidents Organization, the Business Council of Canada as well as the Policy Officer Recruitment Program participated in the exercise over five days.

Days began with a basic training styled stand at J-Tower in the Petawawa training area where participants practiced camouflage and concealment, C7A2 rifle drills, fired the gamut of Canadian Army small arms up to and including the C16 automatic grenade launcher and 25mm Bushmaster cannon. The stand finished with a shock blast demonstration where “platoon” members witnessed the live firing of 81mm mortars, the 84mm Carl Gustav anti-tank recoilless rifle, the main 120mm gun of the Leopard 2A4 tank and the king of battle himself: high explosive rounds from the 155mm M777.

In a departure from previous iterations of Exercise COLLABORATIVE SPIRIT, this year included the hugely successful partnering of participants with Task Force Tomahawk fire team partners who spent the day mentoring their guests and answering questions about the Canadian Army, 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group and the newly rolled out Task Force Tomahawk. 

Exercise COLLABORATIVE SPIRIT 16 was an excellent opportunity to showcase the Canadian Army to important Canadians as well as familiarize them with the Task Force poised to assume the high readiness mantle later in 2017.

By Lieutenant Dan Mazurek, Public Affairs Officer for Task Force Tomahawk / 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group

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