DT News Interview: LCol David Meehan on NOREX 22

Video / February 24, 2022


(SVH) From February 11th to 20th, 31 Canadian Brigade Group soldiers deployed to Canadian Forces training area of Burwash and Garrison Petawawa for NOREX 22, an annual Northern exercise aimed at maintaining 4th Canadian Division readiness to respond to emergencies in the Arctic and Northern Canada. Lieutenant-Colonel David Meehan, commanding officer of the Grey and Simcoe Foresters and the exercise director, is here to tell us more about the exercise.

What are some of the skills that soldiers develop and practice over the course of the exercise?

(DM) So the course of the... the exercise is primarily what we call a confirmation exercise. So the soldiers have already been trained to a level which allows them the competence to operate in these environments, but primarily there are three things that we look at. And that’s mobility, we have to be able to move, we have to be able to sustain ourselves, so resupply, so that we don’t become a burden on wherever we may be, and lastly, we need survivability.

(SVH) How does NOREX aid in maintaining capability to respond to civil disasters, specifically in cold weather conditions?

(DM) So as.... as we discussed earlier, the cold weather operations is very unique. You know, it’s not something that you can just simply walk out the door and carry out operations. You need not only special training, but you need the equipment to allow you to operate in that environment.

(SVH) Can you tell us how NOREX helps 4th Canadian Division Arctic Response Company Group prepare for emergencies in Canada’s North, and how it can help support communities in remote locations?

(DM) When we send in... individuals to assist in the North, it’s not a matter of just having the ability to... to lend a helping hand, it’s that we don’t want to become a burden on that community. We have the ability of sustaining ourselves, of surviving ourselves, and we go in in a posture of self-sufficiency, so we can look after ourselves, and at the same time help the community that we are there with.

(SVH) Is there anything else you’d like to add?

(DM) Even with that training and that equipment, we can’t do it ourselves. When we go to a community, the first thing that we do is we reach out to... to... whether it be the local authorities, or perhaps the community leaders to make sure that we’re in tune with them. But also, we also draw on other agencies, such as the Canadian Ranger Patrol group. They’re the... also the specialists in the North, and no team can operate in isolation. It’s a big project, and... and we cannot do it alone.

(SVH) Thanks so much for joining us today, sir.

(DM) You’re very welcome.

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