North

Operation Nunalivut visited by top brass

Canada's chief of defence staff and the U.S. commander of NORAD visited Canadian Rangers and military personnel in the High Arctic during the sovereignty patrol Operation Nunalivut this year.
Canadian soldiers on patrol during Operation Nunalivut in 2007. (Dianne Whelan/Canadian Press)



Canada's chief of defence staff and a top American commander visited Canadian Rangers and military personnel in the High Arctic during the sovereignty patrol Operation Nunalivut this year.

The two-week  exercise wrapped up this week in the Far North as teams of Rangers and military personnel travelled by snowmobile into several High Arctic islands, camping along the way.

 At one point, the Commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command  addressed the group, accompanied by Canada's Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Walt Natynczyk.

It was the first time U.S. Admiral Sandy Winnefeld  had visited the Arctic, said Cambridge Bay Ranger Doug Stern.

"He sounded a little bit amazed to be up there and to be experiencing Rangers patrols and what they look like and what they do up there. It sounded like it was a real eyeopener for him," Stern said.

Winnefeld described his trip as "enormously beneficial to my understanding of the Arctic environment."

He said he was  particularly impressed by the role of the Inuit and First Nations people in the operation.

 Stern says part of Operation Nunalivut was hampered by blizzards, so some patrols had to hunker down in tents for four days. 

Media were supposed to join the Rangers and military staff for at least a day in the High Arctic, but the tour was cancelled by National Defence because of the federal election.