Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

April 26, 2010 18:03 ET

Canadian Forces High Arctic Operation Furthest Northern Patrol for Canadian Rangers

CFS ALERT, NUNAVUT--(Marketwire - April 26, 2010) - Minister Peter MacKay participated today in the closing ceremonies for Operation NUNALIVUT 10, the Canadian Forces' annual exercise in the high Arctic. The year's first Arctic operation featured the first ever landing of a CC-177 Globemaster at Canadian Forces Station (CFS) Alert, and concurrent training between the Arctic Response Company Group and the Canadian Rangers, who conducted their patrols further north than ever before.

"The Canadian Forces successfully achieved their aim of demonstrating and improving upon their capabilities to respond to safety and security challenges in our Arctic," said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, who attended the closing ceremonies. "The unexpected yet successful search and rescue of Australian Tom Smitheringale during Operation NUNALIVUT 10 demonstrates why we need a strong presence in the Arctic, as well as continual improvements on the capabilities to operate here."

During Operation NUNALIVUT 10, the Canadian Forces clearly demonstrated the ability to operate in the most challenging and austere conditions in Canada. This major joint operation was conducted in Canada's high Arctic, along the most northern tip of Ellesmere Island, in the vicinity of CFS Alert, Ward Hunt Island, Alert Point, and out onto the Arctic Ocean.

Operation NUNALIVUT 10 also saw 1 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group establish an ice camp 90 kilometres north of CFS Alert. Establishing the ice camp on the sea ice allowed the Canadian Rangers the opportunity to extend their patrol range, to gain experience in setting up a patrol base on the ice, and to conduct trials of new equipment.

"The Canadian Rangers are ambassadors of the North. I am very proud of the reconnaissance and surveillance patrols the Rangers have undertaken throughout the high Arctic region during Operation NUNALIVUT 10, and their ability to use their intimate knowledge of the land to work with other members of the Canadian Forces to ensure protection and safety of Nunavummiut," said the Honourable Eva Aariak, Premier of Nunavut, who presided over the closing ceremonies.

Some of the other accomplishments of the operation included the first landing of a CC-177 Globemaster III at CFS Alert on a gravel-and-ice covered airfield. The Combined Dive Team conducted its first underwater dive in the high Arctic and its longest sustained ice dive operation in Canadian Forces history. As well, a portion of the Arctic Response Company Group conducted concurrent training with the Canadian Rangers for the first time in the Arctic, while a team of nine regular and reserve Signallers tested a new series of Iridium high frequency and satellite communication systems.

"The Canadian Forces are constantly developing, training and perfecting their capabilities. That is why we conduct Operation NUNALIVUT 10 and other training operations throughout Canada," said General Walt Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff, who also attended the closing ceremony. "The Arctic presents a challenging environment. It is as essential to develop the expertise required to effectively operate this far north as it is to operate in international theatres such as Afghanistan."

"The achievements and lessons learned from this operation will be used to adapt tactics, techniques and procedures when operating in the high Arctic and to assist in future missions or domestic emergency responses throughout the North, no matter where they occur," said Brigadier-General David Millar, Commander Joint Task Force North.

The closing ceremony and parade conducted at CFS Alert was also attended by Daniel Shewchuk, Nunavut Minister of Environment and Human Resources, and Ron Elliot, Member of Legislative Assembly for Quttiktuq region, and Mary Simon, President of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.

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