(JL) The Canadian Army's annual exercise MAPLE RESOLVE is currently underway in Wainwright, Alberta. Today, Exercise director LCol Ross Bonnell joins me to discuss how this essential training event prepares soldiers to deploy in support of Canadians and how it will be conducted responsibly in a persistent COVID-19 environment.
Thank you very much for joining us today, sir.
(RB) Right. Thank you very much for having me.
(JL) Can you talk to us a little bit about what has been done differently with MAPLE RESOLVE this year to ensure the health and safety of participating CAF members?
(RB) Yes, COVID-19 considerations have really underpinned every single element of the design and the delivery of MAPLE RESOLVE 21. For every element of the exercise, we deliberately asked ourselves the question: "how can we do things differently this year to mitigate the threat of COVID-19's spread?" It starts with determining exercise participants. Typically at MAPLE RESOLVE Exercise, you would see between 5000 and 6000 exercise participants, including primary training audience, supporters and allies. At MAPLE RESOLVE 2021, we reduced that by roughly half at 2500 participants all through.
Also, it's important to know that the entire exercise has been isolated from the wider community of Wainwright. The primary training audience, once they get into the range of training area, they are confined to the training area, eliminating the risk of spread into the Wainwright community. Last, I think it's important to note that we paired MAPLE RESOLVE with the ongoing vaccination campaign as part of Op VECTOR. Thanks to the outstanding work of the local clinic here, 12 Health Services and 1 Field Ambulance. Every single MAPLE RESOLVE participant, including primary training audience, supporters, they will have the opportunity to receive their first dose of the vaccine.
(JL) It sounds really comprehensive, sir. I know that MAPLE RESOLVE is a very big event on the army calendar. Can you talk to us a little bit about how the training you're conducting prepares soldiers to deploy in support of Canadians?
(RB) Yes, certainly, thank you for the question. MAPLE RESOLVE is the premiere Canadian Armed Forces field training event. MAPLE RESOLVE validates Canadian Army's operational remits so that we are ready to conduct any mission assigned to us by the Government of Canada. Participants at MAPLE RESOLVE will face realistic and challenging scenarios across the full spectrum of operations. So, they're prepared to deploy to many missions assigned by the Government of Canada and it meets our remits to NATO.
(JL) And I understand this is very much a joint exercise. Can you talk a little bit about how the Royal Canadian Air Force is supporting MAPLE RESOLVE this year?
(RB) Yes, certainly. MAPLE RESOLVE always has been a joint exercise, MAPLE RESOLVE 21 is no different. The Royal Canadian Air Force to MAPLE RESOLVE has deployed an air task force of 400 participants. This comprises headquarters of the air task force: from 408 Squadron in Edmonton are eight Griffon helicopters and from 415, there are two Chinooks. Also, important note, that our allies to the south from the Wisconsin Army National Guard have deployed three Black Hawk helicopters. These helicopters will provide the air MedEvac capability throughout the exercise.
(JL) Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today, sir and good luck on the exercise.
(RB) Great. Thank you very much. Great talking.