New rotation of soldiers complete first allied exercise

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Article / September 26, 2016

By: Captain L. Benak, Public Affairs Officer, Operation REASSURANCE Land Task Force

From September 14 to 16, 2016, a new rotation of Operation REASSURANCE Land Task Force (LTF) soldiers completed their first combined air mobile event with their host nation counterparts, the Polish 25th Air Cavalry Brigade, during Exercise MAPLE DETACHMENT.

LTF Commander Major Lonnie Campbell notes that this was a great opportunity for the two nations to work together. “MAPLE DETACHMENT allowed the Canadian and Polish soldiers to connect on many different levels, including personally and technically, which in turn serves to create a stronger alliance between both of our militaries, by ensuring we can successfully operate together,” he said.

To optimize training value, the two-week exercise was divided into two parts: the theoretical and the practical.

During the first week of training, the Canadian soldiers received classroom instruction at the Nowy Glinnik training facility, over 400 km away from the LTF base in northwest Poland. The lectures enabled the Canadian soldiers to familiarize themselves with the characteristics of the helicopters that would be used (the W3W Falcon and Mi-17) during the practical portion of the exercise.

The second week saw Canadian and Polish soldiers focused on executing air mobile operations in real time. This meant practicing tactically mounting and dismounting the aircraft as well as executing the highly-advanced military skill of helicopter fast rope rappelling. With speed and efficiency being crucial elements to the training`s success, the already complex task was made even more challenging due to language and procedural differences between the two allied nations.

“This is a unique experience for my soldiers,” said Platoon Commander Lt Jonathan Spiess. “Exercise MAPLE DETACHMENT helps us train as we fight because the skills we learn here are the same ones that we need to have mastered for when we get called out in response to emergencies at home or abroad.”

The training successfully wrapped up at the end of the second week with both nations having executed their tasks dozens of times on and off the aircraft.

Exercise MAPLE DETACHMENT is the prelude and only opportunity for the new rotation of LTF soldiers to practice their interoperability with allied soldiers before the commencement of the largest exercise, Exercise ALLIED SPIRIT V, which takes place from September 26 to October 15, 2016.

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