True North, Boreal and Freezing

Article / February 19, 2016 / Project number: c-ar-0219-op-trilliumresponse

“See those trees? We’re in the Boreal Forest; this is Canada, troops.”

Soldiers from the 4th Canadian Division are in the north, well equipped, and well prepared to live and operate in the harsh conditions while conducting Operations TRILLIUM RESPONSE 2016, from February 13th to 21st.  TRILLIUM RESPONSE is the annual field training operation aimed at developing and maintaining the capability and expertise of the Canadian Army to conduct operations in remote areas and in austere conditions.  This year, soldiers from 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group have set up a temporary Headquarters in Pickle Lake, Ontario, currently the northern most point that Ontarians can drive to, but the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have pushed even further north, into 13 communities across Northern Ontario. “Training in remote communities presents some challenges; logistics, resupply, transportation… but this is why we are here. This operation is helping us develop new skills and build relationships with northern communities so we are prepared to assist Canadians when and where military help is needed”, said Private Danielle Roth, 2 Service Battalion.

The 4th Canadian Division is comprised of soldiers from the Regular and Reserve Force, and Canadian Rangers from every corner of Ontario – these soldiers may all live in different areas but they have one thing in common: a preparedness to do what is needed to help others. The Canadian Rangers are the Canadian Army’s first responders in Northern Ontario in search and rescue, being the CAF’s “eyes and ears in the North”.

“This is a Ranger’s Sled, not a regular Sled”

The CAF work tightly with the Canadian Rangers; the Canadian Army’s northern experts - comprised primarily of members of First Nations communities. During this operation, the Canadian Rangers taught soldiers from Ontario winter survival skills such as ice water immersion and rescue, how to create smoke signals, building stump stoves, camp fires, setting up snares, and the favourite of the soldiers in Sachigo Lake and Round Lake, ice fishing and eating moose hunted by the Canadian Rangers. Conditions on Operation TRILLIUM RESPONSE 2016 may be cold, ice in Webequie is frozen two feet thick, but the relationship between the soldiers and the communities that are hosting them couldn’t be warmer.

Written by: Second-Lieutenant Ted Bergen, 32 CBG APAO

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