GG: Operation Nanook-Nunakput recently took place in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, where patrols in multiple high arctic locations were conducted. Working alongside Canadian Rangers, the land component of this operation was built on existing CAF operational expertise. Today, we’re speaking with Lieutenant Colonel David Meehan, Joint Task Force Commander of the operation, to tell us more.
DM: So, the primary mission for Operation NANOOK-NUNAKPUT was presence and observation. So, certainly, the first part is presence. So we were located based out of Cambridge Bay, and we located ourselves in four O.P. or P.L. locations – presence locations. Those positions spanned 436 kilometers, and we were there to be seen. So, you’ll see pictures of flags flying. We are not trying to hide, everybody wants to know we’re there. And certainly, to maintain observation on the Northwest Passage.
The community was very open to us being there, and certainly, they honoured us with the lighting of the Qulliq, for the Land Task Force before they went out on the land. It’s a traditional ceremony, meant for people going way out on a hunt, or to do work on the land. And it’s like the candle in the window, to keep lit until you come home. The members of the Land Task Force had attended including myself, were both honoured and touched by the ceremony. And it was special because the elders were able to share some of their personal experiences that we would never have been exposed to otherwise. Certainly there was a lot of opportunities where we had invited members of the community in for lunches, to eat with the soldiers and myself.
DM: The Rangers themselves are an invaluable asset that allow us to deploy into those areas where we do not have the local knowledge or the skills necessary to survive. The Rangers are in integral part of each of the sections that we deployed, and are certainly there not only for their advice, but also our own safety.
It is one thing that we heard over and over again while we were up in Cambridge Bay. You cannot do this alone. You have to be a member of the team. A larger team. And we saw that with the partners that we had working with us in Cambridge Bay and from across the country. It’s not something you can do alone.