Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

October 13, 2006 17:13 ET

Exercise Maple Arch 06 Opening Ceremony

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 13, 2006) - The opening ceremony for Exercise Maple Arch 06 was held today at the Rukla military training area in Lithuania.

Approximately 150 military personnel from Canada, Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania gathered on the parade square in Rukla, each saluting as the national flags we raised to mark the beginning of the exercise.

Exercise Maple Arch will be conducted over the next two weeks, with participating nations sharing their respective experiences and expertise gained through international operations. By "training the trainers" in techniques and procedures associated with Peace Support Operations, these lessons can then be passed on to other members of their respective militaries who may be designated for potential future coalition missions.

"Like all the soldiers in the team, I am very much looking forward to Exercise MAPLE ARCH and the opportunity to work with our partner nations," said Major Paul Lockhart, the Canadian Contingent Commander for the exercise and Officer Commanding Mike Company (Parachute), 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment. "I believe we have some solid experience to bring to the table, based on deployments in the Balkans, Afghanistan and other theatres. That said, all soldiers are fascinated by how their allies do business, from their operational methods, to the details of their individual field equipment. We are all very much looking forward to learning and exchanging ideas with our peers."

Maple Arch 06 will exercise light infantry skills across a variety of PSO settings to improve military interoperability at the individual and multinational small unit level.

NOTE FOR THE EDITOR:

Two Press Information Centres (PICs) have been established for this exercise. One is located in Kaunas, Lithuania, at Gedimino Str. 19, HQ of the 2nd Territorial Unit of Darius and Girenas Military District, phone +370 37 425 298. The other PIC is at the Rukla military training area, phone +370 37 307 789. The e-mail for both PICs is maplearchpic1@hotmail.com. Information and imagery associated with this exercise will be posted on the following website as they become available: http://www.kam.lt

MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES:

Interested journalists should be accredited by bona fide media organizations (press ID or accreditation letter.) The PIC will register media representatives and arrange escorts during media activities. Due to a limited number of personnel and posts for every event, the PIC cannot guarantee attendance by every interested journalist. Planned media opportunities for registered journalists include the following:

October 15: International Weapons Handling (photo opportunity)

October 19-21: PSO Training (media coverage and photo opportunity)

October 27: Distinguished Visitors Day and Closing Ceremony (photo

opportunity and press conference)

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