DT News Interview: Col Rutland on ex MAPLE RESOLVE and AGILE RAM 21

Video / June 21, 2021

Transcript

(E) The Canadian Army recently completed two major exercises, exercise MAPLE RESOLVE and exercise AGILE RAM 21.

Both exercises were required to adhere to the necessary COVID-19 health and safety measures while executing still other essential elements to provide training events of this magnitude to CAF and allied participants.

Today, the Commander of 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, Colonel Wade Rutland, joins us to discuss the exercises themselves and how the Army successfully completed the training underpinned by COVID considerations.

Thank you for joining us today, Col Rutland. I was hoping you could start us off with maybe a quick overview of both exercises and how, with it all, they were conducted differently this time around.

(W) Sure, so the 1st Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, or 1 Brigade, just came off of eight weeks of field training in Base Wainwright in Alberta. They were called AGILE RAM and MAPLE RESOLVE.

(E) Thank you for joining us today, Col Rutland. I was hoping you could start us off with maybe a quick overview of both exercises and how, with it all, they were conducted differently this time around.

(W) Sure, so the 1st Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, or 1 Brigade, just came off of eight weeks of field training in Base Wainwright in Alberta. They were called AGILE RAM and MAPLE RESOLVE.

So, MAPLE RESOLVE was what we call a force-on-force exercise. So, soldier VS soldier, batallion VS batallion, with, you know, laser weapons simulations. That's really to train against the breathing, thinking enemy; the type that would actually come up against on a combat operation.

What we did then, is we transitioned into what was called AGILE RAM, where we actually fought against targets. So, it was a live fire exercise where we used tanks, infantry engineers, helicopters, artillery and all our support capabilities to... you know, test ourselves, using our weapons, night vision equipment by day and night. What that did is: it instilled confidence in our soldiers and leaders, that we could fight using our weapon system against any enemy.

It certainly was different than iterations of this we've conducted in the past, and that was, of course, because of COVID. So, for example, we isolated for seven days before we got there. Every single soldier conducted a COVID test upon arrival. We lived with much smaller capacity and tests. We had far more handwashing stations. We stopped the exercise for three days, right in the middle and conducted a mass COVID vaccination clinic in Wainwright, where we had 92% voluntary uptake of the Moderna vaccine.

(E) Oh, that’s outstanding, sir. And now that both exercises are completed, what would you say is the biggest achievement? And maybe it has something to do with operating in a COVID environment, that you guys realized, as well as maybe the biggest challenge, as well.

(W) Yes, actually, the biggest challenge and the biggest achievement are really interrelated, and I think it was... We were used to getting this type of training done every three years. Each Army division goes through this High Readiness training cycle. But this time was also the home front that had a lot of unknowns. So, for example, Alberta schools closed right in the middle of the exercise, which, you know, of course, a lot of soldiers had to work through family care plans and these sort of things. So the fact that, you know, eight weeks, in that environment, with the soldiers able to deploy and overcome those challenges, I think it was the greatest challenge, but also the greatest achievement.

(E) Thank you very much for that, sir. And before we sign off, is there anything else you would like to add?

(W) Yes, I would actually... I think what this really showed is the power of the Canadian military family that stands behind every soldier and leader. And you know, these families had to deal with a complex environment where they may have had children at home, and they still had to figure out work plans. And so, to be able to support the deployed soldiers, I think it just goes to show that it's a big team effort that provides security to Canada and Canadians, and it's not just the soldiers and leaders. So, I don't know how many families watch this Defence news, but certainly, we'd like to give a big shout-out to those families.

(E) I echo that, sir. So, thank you very much for joining us today. Congratulations on completing the exercise, and see you soon.

(W) Thank you.

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