The Royal Canadian Dragoons take the reins of Operation UNIFIER

Two men in green military uniforms shake hands
Rear Admiral B. Auchterlonie Deputy Commander of Canadian Joint Operations Command, Lieutenant Colonel F. Ault incoming Commander Joint Task Force-Ukraine Lieutenant and Colonel Kris Reeves exiting Commander Joint Task Force-Ukraine participate in a Transfer of Authority ceremony in support of OP UNIFIER, Starychi, Ukraine. 17 March 2018. Photo by Cpl N. Clarkson, © 2018 DND-MDN Canada

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By: Captain Karyn Mazurek, Joint Task Force-Ukraine Public Affairs Officer

On March 17, 2018, the incoming and outgoing members of Joint Task Force-Ukraine (JTF-U) took an important pause to mark the official transition of command authority of Operation UNIFIER. This operation is Canada’s ongoing contribution of support for a strong, stable and sovereign Ukraine.

For the past six months, Operation UNIFIER has been in the capable hands of Lieutenant-Colonel Kris Reeves of the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment. With the signing of the Transfer of Command Authority certificates, he passed the baton to LCol Fraser Auld of The Royal Canadian Dragoons. Both units are housed with 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group in Petawawa, which has been Canada’s High Readiness Brigade since July 2017.

During his final remarks, LCol Reeves took the opportunity to highlight the close ties that have been forged not only between Canada and Ukraine, but also between the other allied nations–Lithuania, Poland, the UK, and the US—who have been working hand-in-hand at the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre (IPSC) near Starychi in western Ukraine.

“I am so proud of the hard work and dedication of the soldiers, sailors, and air men and women of Rotation 4 during the past six months,” LCol Reeves noted. “We have made tremendous progress working with our Ukrainian and allied-nation counterparts here at the IPSC, but we have also seen exponential growth in many different areas throughout Ukraine. It is my hope that Rotation 5, under Lieutenant-Colonel Auld, sees the same success as we assist Ukraine towards NATO compatibility.”

LCol Fraser Auld readily acknowledged the successes over the past six months but firmly set his focus on the steps ahead. “There is still much work to be done as we support Ukraine to reach their goal of NATO compatibility; everyday sees new opportunities that we can pursue. I thank Rotation 4 for their thorough and detailed handover and to Rotation 5 I say ‘let’s get to work!’”

The event was presided over by Rear-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie, the Deputy Commander of Canadian Joint Operations Command. It included award presentations from Canada, Ukraine, and the United States to honour the efforts and commitment of many members of JTF-U.

Image gallery

  • Three men sit at a table, with three other men standing behind them.
  • Two Canadian soldiers shake hands while American and Ukrainian military members clap
  • Two men in green military uniforms shake hands
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