Army exercise planned for February in N.W.T.

About 1,500 military personnel will arrive in the Tlicho region of N.W.T. next month for a winter army exercise.

Military traffic to increase on Highway 3 and Behchoko to Gameti winter road

About 1,500 military personnel will arrive in the Tlicho region of N.W.T. next month for a winter army exercise.

The Canadian Forces held information sessions in Behchoko, Gameti and Whati this week on what to expect during Exercise Arctic Ram, which will take place from Feb. 14 to 26.  

Infantry units from 41 Canadian Brigade Group conduct a company attack at Giant Mine near Yellowknife during Exercise Sovereign Grizzly in the summer of 2010. The army is returning to the Yellowknife area in February for a winter exercise. (Canadian Forces)

The exercise will have its main headquarters just outside Yellowknife, with two forward operating bases between Yellowknife and Behchoko. Set-up may begin as early as Jan. 23.

The aim of the exercise is to re-familiarize soldiers with Northern operations and how to operate effectively in cold weather. It has a budget of approximately $17.5 million.

About 100 of them will set up camp by the airport in Gameti, and the community's senior administrative officer Greg Morash says he thinks it will be good for the area.

"They're going to let us know when they're parachuting in and we're going to have the whole community out there watching," he said. "The other thing is they're going to be buying some crafts. We hope so that'll put a little bit of money into the community."

The Canadian Forces will be bringing their own food and fuel.

Most of the participating personnel will be from the army’s 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group from Edmonton, but there will also be people from bases in Shilo, Man., and Petawawa, Ont. Canadian Rangers will also be involved, as well as elements of the navy and air force.

Maj. Lee Mossop is in charge of logistics for the exercise.

"Anytime the Canadian Forces tries to operate up north we always contact and bring in the Rangers for that," he said. "I mean they're the guys that live here year round. They can teach us things we don't know."

Some of the exercises will involve the use of live ammunition and explosives, as well as parachute jumps, weather permitting.

The Canadian Forces say there will be a high volume of military traffic on the road between Behchoko and Yellowknife, and on the winter roads from Behchoko to Gameti, and ask the public to exercise caution when passing military vehicles and to try to avoid separating convoys.