Wednesday, August 10, 2016

CAF Land Task Force Returns to Romania to Train with Allies

By: Captain Mark Ruban, Public Affairs Officer, Operation REASSURANCE Land Task Force

Approximately 40 soldiers of the Operation REASSURANCE Land Task Force (LTF) have concluded yet another successful training exercise with NATO allies in Cincu, Romania. LTF personnel returned to Cincu for Exercise SABER GUARDIAN, which took place from July 27 to August 7, 2016, after having first deployed there in April for Exercise SCORPION FURY.

Soldiers walk in a field alongside two tanks.
Canadian soldiers of the Operation REASSURANCE Land Task Force (LTF) (in green) demonstrate their mechanized advance-to-contact procedures to American soldiers of 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team during Exercise SABER GUARDIAN, a multinational exercise comprising 10 countries, in Cincu, Romania on August 3, 2016. Canadian soldiers are deployed to Central and Eastern Europe as part of the LTF to support NATO assurance and deterrence measures, and improve interoperability with allies. (Photo: Corporal Guillaume Gagnon, Liaison Officer Driver, Operation REASSURANCE Land Task Force)
The purpose of Exercise SABER GUARDIAN, which featured 2,000 troops from 10 countries, was to improve interoperability within a multinational brigade context. The Canadians, divided into eight-person sections, were split among the platoons of a company of the U.S. Army’s 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team – which itself was attached to Romania’s 191st Infantry Battalion. As such, Canadian, Romanian and American soldiers collaborated during offensive and defensive scenarios, which included a force-on-force exercise and simulated medical evacuations.

“Once again, it was a pleasure to be training alongside our Romanian and American allies here in Cincu,” said Captain Tom Jancarik, a platoon commander with the 1st Battalion, Royal 22e RĂ©giment (1 R22eR) deployed with the LTF. “It’s always a pleasure to find that, despite our differences in tactics and equipment, we are more alike than different. We are equally united in our desire to increase our interoperability and help defend Central and Eastern Europe.”

Like many joint exercises, Exercise SABER GUARDIAN was an opportunity to practice new or unfamiliar skills with allies. Thanks to the Americans’ Blackhawk helicopters, the Canadians – who are mainly mechanized infanteers from 1 R22eR – were able to practice airmobile-assault drills with their U.S. counterparts. LTF soldiers had already learned the essentials while training at their base in Poland and they welcomed the opportunity to conduct helicopter-borne training again in Romania.

Having recently acquired Bradley armoured vehicles as part of a process to develop new capabilities, soldiers of the U.S. Army’s 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team are still refining their skills as mechanized infanteers. The Canadians were happy to share their knowledge and experiences with respect to the strategies and tactics of fighting, defending and patrolling with the support of armoured vehicles.

“It was great working with both the Romanians and Americans, who were very welcoming and who ensured that we integrated smoothly into the team,” said Corporal Rylan Moser, a signaller within the LTF. “They had a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with us, and they were also very open to take what knowledge we had to offer. Overall, this was an excellent training experience that helped us develop within our respective trades.”

Exercise SABER GUARDIAN was an important training opportunity that demonstrated the strength of allied solidarity in the region. Aside from the tactical field-training component, several countries collaborated in computer-based simulations to test the performance of various capabilities under different scenarios. The President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, visited soldiers during the exercise, as did a representative of the Canadian embassy in Bucharest, Romania.

Op REASSURANCE is the Canadian Armed Forces’ contribution to NATO assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe. Through the LTF, Canadian soldiers participate in training exercises alongside NATO allies in order to enhance interoperability and contribute to NATO’s readiness to respond to threats that may arise. Aside from Romania, soldiers of the current LTF rotation have also participated in such exercises in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.