December 1, 2013. David Pugliese - Defence Watch
This exercise has just wrapped up….here is what the Army put out shortly before it ended, plus photos:
South Canterbury Region, New Zealand — Completing an amphibious landing from a sealift vessel, securing a port and transferring 200 troops and 55 vehicles onto land is all in a day’s work for Major Patrick Chartrand, who is currently deployed in New Zealand on Exercise SOUTHERN KATIPO 2013 (Ex SK13).
Major Chartrand, Royal 22e Régiment is attached to the evaluation team as part of Exercise Control for SK13. His role is to assess how well the operations are carried out and identify any gaps ahead of Exercise SOUTHERN KATIPO 2015. This means he is participating in every aspect of the exercise, including the amphibious landing at Port Timaru that signalled the start of the exercise on November 9th.
“Being involved in executing a real-time amphibious landing is a great opportunity and the more practice we can get will definitely help us in the future.” Ex SK13 is the biggest international military exercise ever to be held in New Zealand, in terms of the number of countries participating.
The exercise aims to test the capability of the New Zealand’s Defence Force (NZDF) to mount a medium-scale amphibious operation that involves land, air and maritime assets. It also provides a unique opportunity for the NZDF to enhance its ability to work with its partners, particularly those in the Pacific region.
Exercise Director Colonel Paul Van Den Broek describes the exercise as modern and invaluable for the preparedness of the Pacific nations participating.
“I think the multinational nature of the exercise very much reflects the nature of contemporary military operations. Whether in Afghanistan or in conducting peacekeeping operations,” says Col Paul Van Den Broek.
“It’s proving very invaluable in actually finding the friction points within the combined and joint environment. And a lot of the lessons we are learning to date we could not have discovered if we had merely run a command post activity, as opposed to really running an exercise at this level.”
For Brigadier-General Jean-Marc Lanthier, Commander 2nd Canadian Division and Joint Task Force East, who visited the troops during the exercise, “it represents valuable collective training for our troops in an international setting. I was very impressed to witness first hand the level of professionalism and expertise displayed by our troops and our allies.”
Ex SK13 was held in the South Canterbury region in the South Island of New Zealand from November 4 to 29. It involved three war ships, and up to 18 aircraft and 2200 personnel from New Zealand and nine other countries: Australia, Tonga, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, Canada, the United States, France, Malaysia and the United Kingdom.
The Canadian Armed Forces contingent of 32 troops arrived in New Zealand in October. They were assigned to Headquarters Combined Joint Inter-Agency Task Force for the exercise.
Maj Chartrand explains this is the first time Canadian Armed Forces personnel have been embedded with the NZDF.
“Our troops have had a chance to train with their counterparts; we had the reconnaissance and snipers with their counterparts from New Zealand, they went in the mountains. Obviously in Quebec City we don’t have the same kind of terrain, the guys were able to do training that they were not able to do back home – that was very beneficial.”
He added, “I know when I go back home I’ll be taking a lot of lessons learned and insights with me. It is all about working with other nations, learning and sharing our knowledge. This builds not only the expertise of my team but also those of other nations taking part.”
Article by Samantha Bayard, Canadian Army Public Affairs, and Natala Low, New Zealand Defence Force Communications