March 12, 2009

Maritime Raider 09 invades Central Virginia

By Sgt. Andrew H. Owen
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Canadian Army Reserve Soldiers from parts of Newfoundland, Labrador and New Brunswick mobilized to the United States to conduct operations as part of Exercise Maritime Raider 09at the Virginia National Guard Maneuver Training Center at Fort Pickett, Va. Feb. 27 to March 8. The exercise is the culmination of the collective training performed throughout training year 2008-2009.

A Soldier from 37 Canadian Brigade Group guards his position during Exercise Maritime Raider 09 at Fort Pickett, Va., March 3, 2009. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Evan D. Marcy)

The exercise, which consisted of approximately 450 members of 37 Canadian Brigade Group, along with elements of Land Force Atlantic Area, 35 Field Ambulance, 72 Communications Group and about 145 participants of the U.S. Army, is to conduct operations in a coined scenario environment and prepare Soldiers for a possible deployment to Afghanistan, said Lt. Col. Sean Leonard, officer-in-charge of Higher Control, 37 CBG.

Throughout the year the units have been focusing on their individual battle task standards to prepare them for this operation where the units come together to conduct their collective battle tasks standards, where all the units come together and work as a sub-unit, said Leonard.

Maritime Raider 09 is a counter-insurgency type operation. The Soldiers focused on improving patrolling, defensive position operations and ambushes in a scenario-based environment, according to Leonard.

Canadian Army Corporal Chris Landry, 8 Canadian Hussars, 37 Brigade Group, stands in the turret of a light utility vehicle while waiting for convoy operations to begin at Fort Pickett, Va., March 5, 2009 during Exercise Maritime Raider 09. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Matthew Freire)

This year marked the second time the 37 CBG has conducted Maritime Raider here. According to Leonard, one of the reasons the 37 CBG chose Fort Pickett’s MTC was the temperate conditions that the region often has this time of year. However, when the area saw eight to 12 inches of snow and below freezing temperatures at the beginning of the exercise, the Canadians had to focus on the other positives of Fort Pickett.

With over 20 live-fire ranges, an urban warfare complex, simulated forward operating bases, and several training villages at Fort Pickett, the Canadians had plenty of events to distract them form the harsh Virginia weather.

“The facilities are excellent!” said Leonard. “They have all kinds of ranges to suit all kinds of weapons systems that we have, and the availability of helicopters and the support from the Americans are just excellent.”

“We don’t just come for the weather…We also come for the facilities,” explained Lt. Dianne Groulx, assistant G-1 of 1st Royal New Brunswick Regiment.

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