Rangers earn kudos from 2PPCLI soldiers

Operation NUNALIVUT 2018
Members of 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (2 PPCLI) load their komatiks in preparation to leave for Intrepid Bay headquarters near Resolute, Nunavut during Operation NUNALIVUT 2018. Photo: Petty Officer Second Class Belinda Groves, Task Force Imagery Technician

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Sarah Francis – Shilo Stag

Members of 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (2 PPCLI) who spoke to the Shilo Stag, said having the Canadian Rangers as their guides during Operation NUNALIVUT was important as part of their training.

From teaching them how to build komatik sleds for use with snowmobiles, to building walls made from snow to block the wind, as well as tricks to keep warm in the harsh climate, the Rangers were not short on advice.

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  • Operation NUNALIVUT 2018
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A few Rangers were sent to CFB Shilo to help train 2PPCLI soldiers before they headed north for Op NUNALIVUT in March.

Master Corporal Allen Elatiakhas has many years of experience with the Rangers. He spent time with 2PPCLI while they were in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. He told the Shilo Stag that being a part of the Rangers is an ever-changing occupation. “Everything has changed since I first started. Every time we go out on training [we] learn something new.”

MCpl Elatiakhas moved to Cambridge Bay with his parents in the 1950s from a small outpost near Hudson Bay. Being able to spend time in the field where he has lived for years is one of his favourite aspects of the job. In his 30 years of experience, the Ranger said climate change has had an effect on his fellow Inuit. He’s observed wildlife like bears and moose starting to pop up farther north. “Grizzly bears, they’re coming into Victoria Island. Moose … they’re not too far from here on the mainland,” he said.

Corporal Katty Taipagak has been with the Rangers since 2002. “I was born and raised out on the land and I like to be out on the land. I like to help other people that are out there and to teach others that need to learn,” Cpl Taipagak said, adding that there is a lot of enjoyment in living in this remote part of Canada. “Being around family and going out on the land, I know where I’m going. If I moved somewhere else, I’d be bored because I don’t know the land. I like it here. This is my home.”

While up in Resolute Bay, MCpl Matthew Manik was assisting 2PPCLI while the infantry soldiers were training out on the land. Joining the Rangers was an easy choice, he said, adding “They’ve got the lifestyle I grew up with.”

MCpl Manik instructed soldiers on how to build a wall to protect tents from the wind after their first attempt was not up to snuff. “Make the base strong. Make it like bricks,” he instructed. “You don’t want to line them up like blocks. First, you make the base strong, make everything even and level [to] lay it like bricks.”

The Canadian Armed Forces’ 5 000 Canadian Rangers based in the far north can be found in 200 communities, and play a vital role patrolling the far north.

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