Don’t be alarmed if you see military convoys on our highways in the coming weeks.
The Canadian Armed Forces is conducting a major training exercise at the 4th Canadian Division Training Centre in Meaford, Ontario.
Lieutenant (Navy) Andrew McLaughlin, Public Affairs Officer for 33 Canadian Brigade Group, says from Aug. 19 to 30, more than 100 reservists from that group will be passing through Highways 11, 26, 45, 60, 62, and 503, as well as surrounding areas.
“We ask that civilians take extra caution around military vehicles, but they’re really no different than a large transport truck or construction vehicle that often use the highways alongside us,” says McLaughlin, adding that soldiers are qualified to operate vehicles beyond a typical Ontario licence. “They are professional. They know how to drive these vehicles safely. It’s just a matter of making sure the community is aware that if 20 large vehicles drive by, they understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.”
When the reservists arrive in Meaford, McLaughlin says they’ll do a simulated combat exercise as part of year-round training for international operations under NATO and the United Nations, as well as crisis response training for emergencies such as the current wildfire evacuation efforts in Yellowknife. “Doing exercises like this keep our soldiers sharp in order to maintain the planning, professionalism, and experience that is required when Canadian Armed Forces participate in operations either in Canada or around the world,” says McLaughlin.
According to McLaughlin, Exercise Arrowhead Guardian is the largest Canadian Army Reserve warfighting exercise in more than five years, involving over 800 reservists from 31, 32, and 33 Canadian Brigade Groups– based in London, Toronto, and Ottawa, respectively.
“We’re very proud that we have this many soldiers going,” says McLaughlin. “These reserve soldiers are regular members of the communities which they serve. So, they are taking time out of their busy schedules to leave their jobs, leave their families to do this up to two weeks of training, to ensure that they’re ready to respond to the needs of the Canadian Armed Forces at a moment’s notice.”