Sappers, infantry reinforce northern troop presence

MCpl David McVeigh, Army News, Saturday, July 24, 2010

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories — 41 Canadian Brigade Group (41 CBG) recently held Exercise SOVEREIGN GRIZZLY to bolster support for the newly formed C Company (The Yellowknife Company), The Loyal Edmonton Regiment (LER), in Yellowknife, North West Territories.

New unit

Ex SOVEREIGN GRIZZLY involved the newly formed 41 Service Battalion (41 Svc Bn)—a tactical grouping of 14 and 15 Service Battalions—41 Combat Engineer Regiment (41 CER), the LER, The Calgary Highlanders, The King’s Own Calgary Regiment and The South Alberta Light Horse. Once on the ground, the 150 Reservists quickly set about their assigned tasks.

The highest profile task for the local population was assigned to 41 CER, who went to work refurbishing and improving a boardwalk, completing the project ahead of schedule. This boardwalk is an important and well-used link for pedestrians between two parts of Yellowknife. The city of Yellowknife supplied the building materials while the knowledge and experience of the engineers provided the rest.

Infantry training

While the engineers were in town, the infantry units were in the countryside perfecting skills such as section attacks, vehicle checkpoints, reconnaissance and mounted reconnaissance, all of which culminated in a company-sized attack on the former Giant Mine town site. The rocky terrain of the Canadian Shield in the Yellowknife area provided a distinct challenge compared to the terrain of Wainwright or Suffield.

The new service battalion also faced many logistical challenges in working so far from their home base in Alberta. Its first objective was to transport the vehicles required for the exercise from Alberta to Yellowknife. The medium logistic vehicle wheeled were shipped on flatbeds, but the new medium support vehicle systems were driven the 1,500 km to Yellowknife last March to take advantage of the ice road. Once on the ground, 41 Svc Bn members were kept busy supporting all the units.

In the end, Ex SOVEREIGN GRIZZLY met its objectives and gave the Alberta soldiers a unique opportunity to see Yellowknife. This Army Reserve unit, the only one north of the 60th parallel, was stood up August 2009, as part Canada’s commitment to maintain security and safeguard Canadian interests in the High Arctic.

Project Number: 10-0275

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