Op UNIFIER: Reservists play a role
CAF reservists contribute greatly to military operations, including Operation REASSURANCE, as members of Rotation 5 of the Land Task Force (LTF). Deployed to Poland since February 2016, these reservists have been participating in military exercises in Central and Eastern Europe in support of NATO’s regional assurance measures.
The LTF comprises primarily soldiers from 1st Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment (1 R22eR), a Regular Force unit, and also includes 28 reservists, who constitute about 12 per cent of the total strength of military personnel in-theatre.
Both reservists and their Regular Force colleagues agree that it is beneficial to integrate part-time members into the LTF. “We have always said that reservists will be treated the same as Regular Force members,” said Major Eric Beauchamp, LTF commander. “Any effort by dedicated and professional personnel, regardless of their home unit, is useful to the mission.”
The reservists come mainly from the 34 and 35 Canadian Brigade Groups, both of which are based in Quebec. While most of the reservists are infantry members, some provide support to liaison, intelligence, public affairs, logistics support and medical support services.
The reservists joined 1 R22eR four months prior to deployment to take part in the work-up training, an essential part of the integration process, which allowed them to adapt to the new pace and environment. In addition, this period gave 1 R22eR members the chance to get to know their new colleagues before leaving for Europe.
“As soon as we arrived at Valcartier for the training, we were put into platoons and treated like real 1 R22eR members,” said Corporal Alex Mazzocchi, of the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada. “To date, the deployment has been a wonderful experience, because I’ve had the chance to do interesting things with a great group of colleagues and train with allies in another part of the world.”
Once deployed, the group is more than just an ordinary company with added reservists; it a qualified LTF that makes no distinction between members based on their type of service. Everyone, whether Regular Force or Reserve, works hard to support the mission.
LTF members work mostly in Poland, but they also travel to other countries to participate in training activities, including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania. Canada’s participation in NATO’s joint training exercises offers excellent opportunities to strengthen our military and diplomatic relations. These exercises enhance the interoperability of NATO allies with respect to security and improve the organization’s collective capacity to respond to various operational situations.
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