Air Force soars at pre-Olympic exercise
Like a ski jumper flying off the ramp, Canada’s Air Force soared during Exercise PEGASUS GUARDIAN III/SPARTAN RINGS, which was the last large scale “live-fly” training opportunity before the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games begin in Vancouver in February.
The exercise was led by the RCMP’s Integrated Security Unit, which is comprised of many government agencies and departments, including the Canadian Forces.
As part of that team, the Air Force support to the ISU has two pillars. The Air Component Command of Joint Task Force Games covers air mobility, surveillance and medical evacuation, while the Canadian North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) Region provides aerospace defence, all in support of the RCMP.
“The exercise allowed the Air Component to test the way we will do business in support the RCMP during the Games,” said Colonel Bill Veenhof, Air Component Commander. “We did very well, and the lessons we learned will pay big dividends as we make our final preparations before the Olympics start.”
Lieutenant-Colonel Michel Tremblay, the senior Canadian NORAD Region officer in the exercise, echoed Colonel Veenhof’s comments. “This exercise showed us that we are well prepared to support the RCMP during the Olympics by doing what we do every day – aerospace defence,” he said.
Although the exercise itself ran from October 19 – 23, many of the aircraft involved began flying to familiarize themselves with the area the week before. On the Air Component side, CH-146 Griffons and CH-124 Sea Kings transported RCMP teams and supported patrols in the area, while CF-18 Hornets under NORAD responded to incursions into restricted airspace zones.
On the ground, the Air Force brought TPS-70 and MPN-25 radar units, as well as personnel to support its operations logistically, such as lodging and transport. In fact, this exercise was the first opportunity for the Air Force to make use of the camps that have been set up for the Canadian Forces during the Games.
As the Olympics draw closer, the Air Force will continue to work with the RCMP and other government partners on final preparations before the Games begin in February.
By Lt(N) David Lavallee - Canadian Armed Forces
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