CAF soldiers trained with Allies during Exercise SABER GUARDIAN

A Canadian soldier looks at a map with two American soldiers
Bezmer Air Base, Bulgaria. July 20, 2017 – Major Spencer Sharpe, Officer Commanding Charlie Company Group (centre), deployed on Operation REASSURANCE, receives a ground brief from US Army Captain Crazao (left) before moving into the defensive position during Exercise SABER GUARDIAN. (Image by Sgt D.G. Janes, Directorate of Army Public Affairs) Image by Sgt D.G. Janes, Directorate of Army Public Affairs LF04-2017-0116-28


By Major Nicole Meszaros, Land Task Force Poland Public Affairs

Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) soldiers from the Operation REASSURANCE Land Task Force trained in air mobile and air assault operations in a global context during Exercise SABER GUARDIAN. During this exercise, they trained in Hungary and Bulgaria from July 13 to 24, 2017 with soldiers from the United States, Greece, Italy, and Romania.

“During this exercise, we were working with our Allies and partner nations to develop junior leaders,” said Major Spencer Sharpe, Officer Commanding of Charlie Company Group, 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. “Exercise SABER GUARDIAN was an opportunity for our soldiers to be immersed in a Decisive Action Training Environment, the current training construct used by our Allies.”

The CAF usually conducts overseas operations in a joint or multinational construct. That means working with more than one environment—Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, or Royal Canadian Air Force—or working with more than one country. Major Sharpe emphasized that military members must therefore be experienced in working with Allies and partner nations. “Charlie Company Group is an example of Canadian soldiers putting this into practice,” he said. “While we were a small presence at Exercise SABER GUARDIAN, we had visibility and integrated well with our American counterparts.”

On July 23, 2017, Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Shaw, a Battalion Commander from the United States Army, awarded American Airborne Wings to 39 Canadian soldiers from the Company. They received the wings after conducting airborne airfield seizure training. They were supported with American equipment (T-11 Parachute), aircraft, and Jump Masters.

“The awarding of the wings to Canadian soldiers was a proud moment for the paratroopers,” said Major Sharpe. “At the tactical level, coordination and cooperation are everything, and the ability for our soldiers to work seamlessly with American soldiers in the field speaks volumes to their professionalism. The fact that our soldiers were awarded American Airborne Wings was the final piece in a tactically demanding exercise.”

More than 25,000 military members from over 20 allied and partner nations were involved in this exercise, under the US Army’s lead.

This group of Canadian soldiers has been deployed since February 2017 as part of Operation REASSURANCE. The Land Task Force shows Canada’s commitment to a secure and stable Central and Eastern Europe. CAF members are taking part in military exercises throughout the region to improve interoperability with Allies and to show NATO’s resolve to protect Alliance territories and partners.

Image gallery

  • An American military member puts a pin on a Canadian soldier’s uniform
  • A Canadian soldier looks at a map with two American soldiers
  • Four paratroopers about to land on the grass
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