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NEWS | Nov. 20, 2012

Colorado aviators support Canadian brethren in major training exercise

By Staff Sgt. Jecca Geffre Army National Guard

WAINWRIGHT, Alberta - Soldiers with Task Force Eagle endured frigid Canadian temperatures as they participated in high-readiness evaluation exercise, Maple Resolve, by providing heavy lift and medevac assets to the mission.

The exercise took place from Oct. 15-31, 2012 at the Canadian Manoeuver Training Center in Wainwright, Alberta.

The facility is designed for units to experience full immersion in replicated real-world conditions to maximize efficiency and quality of training.

The Canadian Manouver Training Center uses technology and imagination to present, as authentically as possible, the conditions found within modern operations. Personnel and vehicles are fitted with laser devices that objectively register kills, serious and light wounds and close calls.

Master Sgt. Greg Clancy, noncommissioned officer of TF-Eagle, said the mission provided significant support to the operations which resulted in improved interoperability between U.S. and Canadian forces.

Clancy said Colorado Army National Guard aviation resources worked with Royal Canadian Air Force Air Expeditionary Wing and worked hand-in-hand with an RCAF 430 Squadron in support of a mechanized infantry brigade.

Canadian aviators in Bell 412 utility helicopters flew escort missions for U.S. CH-47 Chinook crews in a disaster relief scenario as part of the validation process for the Canadian Battle Group's upcoming rapid deployment mission.

TF-Eagle provided delivery of troops, cargo, food and fuel, as well as air assault troops for flanking forces, Clancy said.

Lt. Col. Joshua Day, officer in charge of the task force, said the training is beneficial to both countries due to the realistic exercise and pooled resources.

"It's an excellent experience -- particularly for pilots just getting out of flight school," Day said.

Colorado Army National Guard State Command Sgt. Maj. Ken Berube and Command Chief Warrant Officer Matt Dorram were on site as two Chinook helicopter crews rigged and transported an old Sea King helicopter fuselage while carrying crews of Canadian Soldiers.

Members of Task Force Eagle included Colorado Army National Guard members from the High-altitude Army National Guard Aviation Training Site in Eagle, Colo., and Detachment 1, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 135th General Support Aviation, at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colo.