4th Canadian Division trains for success in Latvia

Article / February 19, 2021 / Project number: 2021-0006

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By Lt(N) Alicia Morris, Public Affairs Officer, 4th Canadian Division

Camp Adazi, Latvia — As the world continues to grapple with COVID-19, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) presses on with its responsibilities to partner nations as part of OPERATION REASSURANCE (Op REASSURANCE).

Through Op REASSURANCE, Canadian land troops are leading an Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group (eFP BG) in Latvia, as part of ongoing NATO-led assurance and deterrence measures in the region. 

A new rotation of troops from 4th Canadian Division (4 Div) in Ontario is set to join the mission in March, 2021. They are tasked with designing and delivering training to confirm Latvia and its allies on the eFP BG are fully integrated and able to work together seamlessly.

While doing so safely in a COVID environment presents challenges, 4 Div members have already shown it can be done.  

From September 12 to October 5, 2020 near the Latvian capital of Riga, a group of 70 members successfully delivered the training to allies from Albania, Czech Republic, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain. 

As the Framework Nation, Canada is the lead for all eFP Latvia support requirements and was responsible for designing the training in conjunction with the Latvian National Armed Forces.

As such, the CAF and the Canadian Army needed to ensure that considerations such as personnel requirements and logistical support were mapped well in advance, and included appropriate health protection measures against COVID-19.  

 “Personnel from all nine nations that compose the Battle Group had to isolate either prior to deployment in their respective countries, or on arrival in Camp Adazi in a dedicated facility,” explained Lieutenant-Colonel Anna Grodecki, Task Force Latvia Surgeon. “The same strict rules applied to soldiers from outside of Latvia who joined us.”

“Adopting the best public health practices is a matter of obligation for readiness as the Battle Group and its members must be able to continue current operations and be prepared for any unknown challenges they could face,” she added.

After weeks of learning to work together, the eFP BG achieved complete integration with the Latvian Mechanized Infantry Brigade.  

“I am extremely proud of the preparedness and effort that went into making this such a success,” said 4 Div Commander Brigadier-General Conrad Mialkowski. “All concerned adopted the safety requirements of quarantine and force protection and contributed to developing multinational interoperability and combat effectiveness in Eastern Europe.”

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