Rankin Inlet, Nunavut will be the temporary home to approximately 350 soldiers as the Canadian Armed Forces unfolds its new Arctic field training, known as Exercise Trillium Response.
The 4th Canadian Division/Joint Task Force Central and the 31 Canadian Brigade Group from Ontario will be honing their winter warfare and cold weather survival skills over the course of 10 days.
A small group landed in Rankin Inlet Saturday to set up camp and prepare for the soldiers' arrival. The remainder of the soldiers will arrive on Feb. 15.
According to the Canadian Forces, the exercise is geared mainly toward the group’s Arctic Company Response Group and Domestic Response company. Officials say the military is attempting to bring Arctic operations back to the forefront of training after a decade of focusing on desert climates such as Afghanistan.
“Cold weather skill sets are necessary in order to ensure the CAF’s ability to protect Canadian sovereignty in the North,” according to the group’s public affairs officer, Capt. Carrie Pluck.
The exercise will be based in Rankin Inlet, but training will take place in Chesterfield Inlet and Whale Cove.
Conserving surrounding environment
According to the army, the group has taken precautions not to cause damage to the natural surroundings during the course of the training exercise.
“The CAF takes its responsibilities as a steward of the environment very seriously and prior liaison with relevant authorities is part of our standard procedures,” said a statement issued by the brigade.
During the exercise, the group will hold a “Community Day” in the three areas where the troops will be active and will encourage the public to meet and interact with the soldiers, and take a look at their equipment.
The group warns the public that there will be some increased noise including airplane fly-overs and military vehicle traffic, but have stressed that there will be as little disruption to traffic flow as possible.
Equipment will be flown in from Ontario. The group has said it will use 73 vehicles including snow tractors and trailers.