By 2Lt R I Lund
16 October 2009

This past September the members of Task Force VANCOUVER (TFV) gathered in the drill hall of the LTF building to take part in the week long Joint Task Force Games (JTFG) training exercise UNIFIED SENTINEL. This was a training exercise for the command posts (CP) that make up JTFG, testing their abilities to communicate effectively and react appropriately to scenarios as well as give them the opportunity to work together for the first time. For several members of TFV this was their first experience in a CP and the learning curve was steep. The experienced members of TFV were quick to step up and coach the less experienced members, making that learning process that much easier.

The first couple of days of the exercise were challenging for all involved as we faced a variety of scenarios everyday that tested our ability to react to any situation we might face while on Op PODUIM. Important lessons were learned everyday that helped us to adapt how the CP was ran. It was a constant process of adapting how information is logged and presented to ensure that as many issues as possible are resolved prior to our departure for Op PODIUM.

Not every moment in the CP was dealing with situations, there were some quiet periods and there was some fun. A simple favourite among the majority of us was the classic prank call. It was always the easy way to get the duty officers perked up thinking something might be happening only to hear laughing from across the table in the CP. There was also the brief Purell standoff between Lt Warren Kerek and myself. I learned my lesson and smelt like hand sanitizer for my entire shift.

Morale was good and as the week went on we would face new and difficult challenges but with almost a full week of experience working together, we were able resolve situations quickly and efficiently. Things were running much smoother now, as all the members were working together as a team. The experience gained during UNIFIED SENTINEL will prove extremely valuable during our next few exercises such as SPARTAN RINGS and GOLD, as we continue to prepare for Op PODIUM.