Though most people weren’t thrilled with the recent extreme cold snap in the region, the conditions were perfect for a military training exercise at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden.
The 4th Canadian Division Arctic Response Company Group (ARCG) conducted Exercise ARROWHEAD CHILL at CFB Borden from February 3-5 to build critical winter survival skills. Nearly 100 personnel participated in the training from Barrie and across Southwestern Ontario.
“We’re really proud to again participate in a named CAF Operation under the leadership of Joint Task Force North,” said Captain Jordan Webb, ARCG Operations Officer. “The conditions and training areas of CFB Borden were perfect for our pre-deployment training cycle this time, especially with the recent cold snap, which provided a realistic cold-weather survival environment.”
The training was in preparation for the deployment of a Platoon of 31 Canadian Brigade Group (31 CBG) soldiers to Rankin Inlet, Nunavut in support of Operation NANOOK-NUNALIVUT, a major Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Arctic presence and patrol mission.
Training activities included:
- Radio procedures and radio equipment maintenance for extreme cold weather.
- Snowmobile operations (also known as Light Over Snow Vehicles) for mobility, medical and casualty evacuation, resupply, and reconnaissance.
- Navigation and mobility in a winter environment, ensuring troops can move and sustain themselves while following specific directions from command and pre-planned routes.
- Winter operations in groups of 8-10, practiced setting up Arctic tents and all necessary equipment like gas stoves and lanterns to live on the land in an Arctic environment.
“They slept in these tents in the extreme cold [during training], which actually provided more realistic training conditions as temperatures in the deployment region regularly reach minus 40 Celsius and below,” said Lt(N) Andrew McLaughlin, 31 CBG Public Affairs Officer.
The effort is led by Joint Task Force North, headquartered in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and spearheaded on the ground by elements of 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group from Petawawa. The ARCG’s deployment will begin in early March and last nearly two weeks, with these local Army Reserve soldiers supporting a larger contingent of CAF personnel from across Canada.
The ARCG is led by the Grey and Simcoe Foresters of 31 CBG, which is headquartered in Barrie and has an additional Company in Owen Sound, Ontario. The unit trains year-round across Ontario and Canada for these specialized missions with partners from the CAF like Canadian Rangers, and other government departments engaged in Arctic and Northern presence operations.
The unit has completed multiple deployments to Canada’s North and Arctic regions in recent years, and maintains a unique and specialized capability to respond to emergencies in the harshest environments.
They recently led a CAF Joint Task Force on a successful mission in the Cambridge Bay, Nunavut region, consisting of Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force assets in August, 2022.