Winnipeg, MB – Approximately 150 members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) redeployed from Exercise ARCTIC BISON 2017 (Ex AB 17), held in Gimli, Manitoba and on Lake Winnipeg from February 17 – 25.
“We were able to establish and meet all of our expectations and even exceed what the exercise was designed for. Challenging weather conditions were experienced by all levels of leadership and soldiers within the ARCG. The warm wet weather that developed into colder icy conditions on the lake was a valuable learning asset. The ARCG’s success in this diverse training experience makes us a more versatile force during domestic operations in Canada’s North,” comments Major James Meredith, Officer Commanding, Arctic Response Company Group.
Soldiers from 38 Canadian Brigade Group (CBG), 3rd Canadian Division are returning to their home units this weekend. Canadian Army Reservists from North Western Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan were part of a successful winter training exercise which saw about 100 members of the Arctic Response Company Group (ARCG) travel by snowmobile from Gimli to Berens Island on Lake Winnipeg.
Ex AB 17 was conducted to ensure that local soldiers participate in critical non-tactical winter warfare training in austere weather conditions in support of domestic operations in Canada’s North.
This year, soldiers travelled via snowmobile across Lake Winnipeg from Gimli to Berens Island to a notional civilian aircraft ‘crash site’. In the scenario, soldiers deployed to the ‘crash site’, a 600 km round trip from Gimli, to assist government officials with their investigation and consequence management of the crash. While several reservists were out travelling on the ice, several were positioned at the Land Component Command (LCC) headquarters in Gimli participating in supporting logistical roles.
Ex AB 17 was supported by participation from military units outside 38 CBG such as the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, the 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, and 440 ‘Vampire’ Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
“This was a great opportunity for soldiers to advance their skills and take part in winter training. As reservists, soldiers need to be ready to respond and contribute to a domestic operation. Ex ARCTIC BISON allows us to train those domestic operating skills. Many soldiers taking part in Ex AB 17 took time from their civilian employment or school to attend this exercise. As a part-time soldier, it is paramount that reservists continually train and this exercise is an excellent opportunity to test non-tactical winter warfare skills,” says Major Darla Oja, Officer in Command of Thunder Bay’s 38 Service Battalion Detachment.
- Ex AB 17 is 38 CBG’s annual ARCG exercise and includes reservists from Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Northern Ontario.
- The ARCG is used by the Canadian Armed Forces to support the Regular Forces and the Canadian Rangers during operations taking place in the Canadian Arctic.
- Soldiers are required to train regularly and participate in annual exercises in winter conditions. The majority of soldiers on the exercise are Reservists and serve in the military part-time.