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Article / March 25, 2015

On March 19th, the Josephburg community was on hand to watch as approximately 125 soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (3 PPCLI) dropped from the sky during Exercise SPARTAN VARSITY.

A number of aircraft from the Royal Canadian Air Force took part in the exercise, including:

  • two CH- 146 Griffons,
  • a CC 130 J – Hercules, and
  • two Alpha Jets

However, members of the community were particularly interested in the historic DC-3 Dakota that was used to carry the 3PPCLI soldiers to the drop zone near the Warren Thomas airfield outside of Josephburg.  

The DC-3 Dakota originally flew with the Royal Air Force (512 Squadron) and inserted paratroopers into Germany during Operation VARSITY. On March 24th, 1945, paratroopers from the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion joined the 17th U.S. Airborne and 6th British Airborne Divisions to capture the city of Wesel, Germany.  

Lieutenant-Colonel Jason Adair, Commanding Officer of 3 PPCLI, noted that Exercise SPARTAN VARSITY provided an opportunity to hone their collective airborne operations skills while reinforcing ties with the Canadian Army's airborne history.   

Today, in practicing our skills, we also demonstrated our commitment to preserving the legacy of our forefathers. While faces and equipment may change, the airborne spirit transcends generations,”  said Lieutenant-Colonel Adair.

It’s pretty special knowing that paratroopers from the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion jumped out of the same aircraft that was used 70 years in the largest airborne operation to this day. This is an experience that I will never forget,”  added Private Taylor Mann.

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