Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

July 13, 2011 12:56 ET

Canadian Forces Contingent Prepare to Leave for the Nijmegen Marches

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 13, 2011) - A send off parade was held today at the Canadian War Museum to mark the upcoming participation of a contingent of 205 Canadian Forces (CF) members in the 95th annual International Four Days Marches Nijmegen, to be held from July 19 to July 22. Canadian military contingents have participated in this prestigious long-distance marching event, held in the Netherlands since 1952.

"The Canadian Forces' participation in the Nijmegen Marches reminds us of Canada's distinguished past and current contributions to peace and security in Europe," said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. "Through my own participation last year, I was honoured to experience firsthand the special relationship that our country has fostered with the people of the Netherlands ever since the Canadian military took part in their liberation during the Second World War."

Led by Brigadier-General John C. Madower, Assistant Chief Military Personnel and Contingent Commander for Joint Task Force (JTF) Nijmegen 2011, the group of marchers is comprised of 205 CF members. They are supported by medical and logistics staff and accompanied by the Air Command Band, for a total strength of 268 participants.

CF marchers in JTF Nijmegen 2011 will also be joined on their journey by the following VIPs: The Honourable Laurie Hawn, Member of Parliament (M.P.) for Edmonton Centre; Mr. Blaine Calkins, M.P. for Wetaskiwin, Alberta; Honorary Colonel Dennis Erker, Loyal Edmonton Regiment; Colonel J. Hausmann, U.S. Defence Attaché to Canada; as well as Sergeant (Ret'd) Joe Brink of the Royal Canadian Legion. Rear-Admiral Andy Smith, Chief Military Personnel and CF sponsor for the contingent, will visit the group from July 20 to 22, and will participate in the march on July 21.

"Not only do the Nijmegen Marches link us back to an important part of history but they also help build morale, friendship, and camaraderie amongst the Canadian Forces members, and other nations participating," said Rear-Admiral Smith. "I look forward to marching with our personnel and witnessing their efforts and teamwork during this strenuous experience."

The Nijmegen Marches consists of four days of marching while wearing standard combat clothing and carrying a military rucksack weighing at least 10 kg. Between July 19 and July 22, the CF contingent will cover 160 km through the Dutch countryside and crowded streets of towns in the Nijmegen area – often walking the same terrain where many Canadians fell during the Second World War.

Notes to editor / news director: Media agencies can request interviews with CF personnel in Nijmegen by contacting the Media Liaison Office at 1-866-377-0811 or 613-996-2353.

Still imagery will be available on the Canadian Forces Image Gallery at: www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca

Imagery and stories of the Nijmegen Marches will be posted on the following website: http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/nij-nim/index-eng.asp

For more information about the CF's participation in the Nijmegen Marches, please consult the following link: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=3852.

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