NEWS | June 6, 2016

Canadian Air Force allies train at Fort Indiantown Gap

By Maj. Angela King-Sweigart Pennsylvania National Guard

FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa.-Thirty Canadian Air Force reservists as well as active duty airmen assisted in renovating a building here for their two-week training last month.

The team was comprised of vertical engineers of the 14th Construction Engineering Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force Reserve. The Canadians brought a variety of skilled tradesmen with them including: plumbers, HVAC technicians, electricians and construction technicians.

The airmen came from throughout Canada said Canadian Air Force Warrant Officer Blane Reynolds. "For some of the troops this was their first time out of the country," he said. "We have troops here from coast to coast."

The program the Canadians came to train with their American counterparts is called the Deployment for Training Program. These exercises are intended to enhance the readiness of military engineers for both Canada and the U.S., and to improve interaction between U.S. and Canadian forces engineers who operate together in support of deployed operations.

Canadian armed forces have been participating in training exercises like these at Fort Indiantown Gap for more than 20 years. The experience has proved beneficial for both Canadian and American troops.

"Everyone has been very welcoming," said Canadian Air Force Lt. Zaneta Balazova. "We've enjoyed working with our allies and it's been a very positive experience."

The Canadians did a great deal of work on buildings 12-8 and 5-116 during their time here. They assisted with running cable, studding out buildings and more. "This has been a productive trip," said Canadian Air Force Sapper Erik Kallweit.

Their American hosts agreed on the benefit and the amount of work that was accomplished. "The Canadian forces renovated an antiquated building into a modern 21st century facility for the benefit of service members training at Fort Indiantown Gap. Experiences like these, working with our allies and accomplishing so much are a win-win for Canadian and American forces," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Daneen Hutton, the Director of Public Works for the installation.

Fort Indiantown Gap, administered by members of the Pennsylvania National Guard, is the busiest National Guard Training center in the U.S. training more than 120,000 service members from all branches and components, as well as allied nations, federal, state and local partners.