Strathcona-led Battlegroup Deploys to Latvia
By: Capt Bryce Simpson
On 8 January 2020, the first 150 soldiers from the Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group (eFP BG) Latvia, departed Edmonton for Riga where they will form the nucleus of a nine-nation, 1400 soldier NATO force in the Baltic country mandated to deter foreign aggression and if necessary, defend the NATO nation. The eFP for Rotation 13 was formed from Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), under command of the CO, Lieutenant Colonel Eric Angell and many of the departing personnel are serving members of the Regiment.
The Latvian Ambassador to Canada, Kārlis Eihenbaums, was on hand at the departure ceremony, held in Regimental lines, to send off the first group of soldiers, and gifted each soldier a ribbon symbolizing the Latvian national flag following brief remarks in which he thanked the departing soldiers for the important work they would be doing in safeguarding the security of the Latvian state. Other dignitaries were there to see off the deploying personnel including 1st Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Commander, Colonel R.T. Ritchie.
In addition to the presence of both military and government luminaries, the departure ceremony also contained a significantly personal element, as many of the soldiers’ families were in attendance to say their farewells to loved ones whose deployment is slated to last approximately six months.
More than 250 further Canadian personnel from Western Canada will deploy over the next weeks to complete the rotation in Latvia and the many Strathconas among them will certainly do their utmost to display the Perseverance which has been exemplified by their Regimental predecessors on overseas service throughout their history.