Operation REASSURANCE Land Task Force rotation completes tour in Poland

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Article / February 27, 2017

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

In August 2016, the main body of soldiers from Canadian Forces Base Edmonton went on a tour of duty in Europe for Operation REASSURANCE. Six months later, the soldiers are returning home, having completed their mission.

Six months, four countries and dozens of NATO allies later, the soldiers of the Operation REASSURANCE Land Task Force (LTF) Rotation 6 have completed their mission. The 220-strong LTF included Regular and Reserve Force soldiers who made up an infantry and a logistics company, and were augmented by engineer, artillery, medical and signals detachments.

“It has been evident all tour, whether it was in camp, on the weapons range, or in some austere field in the middle of yet another foreign country, that this group of soldiers is performing near the top of the Canadian Army’s capabilities,” said LTF Sergeant-Major Christopher Thorne. “I am very proud of how they have overcome the difficult challenges of this tour while distinguishing themselves as professional and reliable soldiers amongst their allies.”

On regular  training exercises in Poland, the LTF became familiar with allied aircraft and unit-level standard operating procedures. While on Exercise ALLIED SPIRIT V in Germany, Canadian soldiers worked alongside other NATO militaries in a U.S. training facility with some of the most advanced technology that exists today. On Exercise SCORPION FURY in Romania, they trained alongside their allies on innovative live-fire ranges. And, in their most high-profile exercise—IRON SWORD—the LTF practiced coordinated urban operations involving several nations.

In addition to achieving a number of accomplishments on the field, the LTF and NATO armies also overcame language, cultural and procedural differences to achieve their goal of improving overall allied unity and teamwork.

To honour the traditions and histories of their host nations, the LTF attended ceremonies on hallowed grounds, where they paid homage to the soldiers who fought and fell before them. Ceremonies commemorated liberation, independence, and the fallen. They also served to remind us that the LTF mission takes place on the very ground where so many of the previous century’s events have helped shape the world we live in today.

“The soldiers of the LTF have developed into a most resilient and cohesive unit that has adapted and overcome some of the most challenging training offered anywhere in the world,” said LTF Commanding Officer, Major Lonnie Campbell. “Not only did they arrive prepared, but they became sharper, quicker and better than ever before, thanks to their experience on this tour.”

Operation REASSURANCE will continue with the arrival of a new rotation of Canadian soldiers. Those heading home now can return to their families and loved ones knowing that they have contributed to yet another chapter in Canada’s proud history of serving alongside their NATO allies.

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