Over the hills and far away:  


By Captain Tim Day

Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2015 was NATO’s largest joint exercise in over a decade.  It involved 36,000 people from over thirty allied and partner nations and took place throughout Italy, Portugal, Spain, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Mediterranean Sea.  Canada’s contribution to the exercise was one destroyer, three frigates, and one submarine from the Royal Canadian Navy; three C-130 Hercules from the Royal Canadian Air Force; and elements from 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group to include the Headquarters & Signals Squadron and the 2e battalion, Royal 22e Régiment.  The Canadian brigade headquarters provided the command and control element for the Multi-National (Canadian) Brigade; stationed in Santa Margarida, Portugal and one of four multi-national brigades operating in the Iberian Peninsula reporting to the NATO Rapid Deployable Corps headquarters in Zaragoza, Spain.  The Multi-National (Canadian) Brigade was a true reflection of the NATO Alliance, with the Reggimento Lagunari from Italy; the 2e battalion, Royal 22e Régiment and 5e Régiment du génie de combat from Canada; 2o Batalhão de Infantaria Mecanizada, Grupo de Artilharia de Campanha, and Bateria de Artilharia Antiaérea from Portugal; a company of bridging engineers from Germany; a CBRN Decontamination company from Poland; and Military Police from Bulgaria.  

With all of this going on in Portugal, naturally a few Strathconas managed to find their way into the mix.  Major Islam Elkorazati, currently posted to NATO Land Command Headquarters in Ismir, Turkey, worked with the Local Operations Control and acted as a Unit Observer Controller to the Multi-National (Canadian) Brigade.  Major Ed Frost-Kell, working at the Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre in Kingston, Ontario, captured various lessons learned from the Multi-National (Canadian) Brigade and the exercise implementation of CONPLAN JUPITER; Canada’s contingency plan for an expeditionary operation.  Captain Tim Day, currently employed at 3rd Canadian Division Headquarters in Edmonton, Alberta, was the G35 for the Multi-National (Canadian) Brigade and improved his second language profile considerably!  Finally, Sergeant Dave Brister, from 1st Canadian Division Headquarters in Kingston, Ontario, was a Duty Officer for the Joint Task Force Support Command headquarters.

The Multi-National (Canadian) Brigade conducted an opposed river crossing, followed by a brigade-level advance through rural Portugal and a final deliberate attack in the Santa Margarida training area.  Throughout the exercise, Canada demonstrated its resolve to support the NATO Alliance and to take a leadership role.