Enabling mission success: The Canadian Forces Joint Operational Support Group shines at RIMPAC 2018

A soldier talks on the phone while another is at his computer
Master Corporal Jordan Guillette and Private Melanie Thibeault-Bédard man the reception desk at the RIMPAC 2018 National Command Element/Joint Task Force Support Component HQ in Waikiki, Hawaii. (Photo: Cpl Trevor Matheson, RIMPAC PA)

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By: Lieutenant (N) Jeff Lura, Public Affairs Officer, Joint Task Force RIMPAC National Command Element

In and around Hawaii and Southern California, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel and equipment were omnipresent during RIMPAC, the world’s largest maritime exercise. A CP-140 Aurora flew regularly over the scenic vistas of Kaneohe Bay. Canadian Patrol Frigates and Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels conducted complex maneuvers alongside allied warships on pristine Pacific seas. CADPAT-clad personnel went about their daily business on ranges, and in offices and operations centres across the exercise areas.

Canadian operations were a well-oiled machine; so well-oiled that very few people stopped to wonder how they got that way. In the small National Command Element/Joint Task Force Support Component in the heart of Waikiki, lay the answer to that rarely-asked question: much of Canada’s RIMPAC success was thanks to the Canadian Forces Joint Operational Support Group (CFJOSG).

Headquartered in Kingston and responsive to the Canadian Joint Operations Command, CFJOSG is made up of six units and numerous detachments across the country. The core staff of the national command and support team in Hawaii came from these units. They were supported by important contributions from the Canadian Forces Military Police Group and Canadian Forces Health Services Group.

Throughout the exercise, personnel were available 24/7 in the small Canadian headquarters. As people and equipment arrived and departed, the team coordinated it all. They provided a wide range of support including administrative, accommodations, medical, and communications services. Advance teams arrived in-theatre weeks before the bulk of the CAF contingent, and will leave after the remainder have already arrived home. They are the engine at the heart of the massive RIMPAC undertaking.

“RIMPAC 2018 is a perfect example of what CFJOSG does,” says Lieutenant-Colonel Shawn Courty, Commanding Officer of the National Command Element/Joint Task Force Support Component. “We got here early, conducted theatre activation, are available throughout, and will close things when we’re done. It’s efficient, it works, and it lets all of the other units and elements focus on conducting operations.”

For Chief Warrant Officer François Fleury, the Sergeant-Major, it’s the people who are most impressive. “We’ve got such a great team,” he explains: “Each and every member knows how important they are to this exercise running smoothly; they work long hours, solve difficult problems, and never seem to lose their energy or motivation. I couldn’t be prouder.”

Operational support is not limited to RIMPAC. During a recent visit, Colonel Carla Harding, Commander CFJOSG, talked about the status of numerous other operations, both in Canada and around the world. The sailors, soldiers, airmen and women in the room listened intently, knowing they could well be on their way to one of these destinations in the near future. The CAF’s record of success in operations is well-known, and CFJOSG personnel are critical to that success.

As the CAF enters a period of increased operational tempo, deploying members can and should be reassured; if RIMPAC 2018 is any indication, they will be provided with service and support that is second to none.

Image gallery

  • A soldier talks on the phone while another is at his computer
  • Two military members work on their computers
  • A soldier looks at medical equipment in a large suitcase
  • Military members stand in a group in front of a statue
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