Land and maritime assets of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) successfully completed participation in Exercise Tradewinds 16, a multinational training event that took place in Grenada and Jamaica.
“The Canadian Armed Forces’ involvement in Exercise Tradewinds promotes the development of Caribbean defence partners and fosters our security and defence relationships with key allies in the western hemisphere. Canada’s participation promotes regional security cooperation, enabling partner nations to counter transnational crime and enhance humanitarian assistance disaster relief skills,” stated Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence.
Running from June 5 to 28, the CAF contributed a Maritime Coastal Defence Vessel (HMCS Shawinigan), an 11 member dive training team consisting of personnel from Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic and Fleet Diving Unit (Pacific) and a land contingent of approximately 30 personnel mostly from 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry to Tradewinds 16. The land and maritime assets provided joint training along with the United States, France, and the United Kingdom to military and security forces of 15 Caribbean and partner nations.
Led by U.S. Southern Command, the aim of this exercise is to support partner nations for civilian government-led disaster response efforts and strengthen the defence capacity of regional partners to address security and stability threats in the region.
Additionally, CAF elements worked as part of a Regional Assessment Team throughout the exercise to provide expertise and feedback to the participating Caribbean organizations in order to better plan for, coordinate and execute response to disasters as well as security threats.
“Exercise Tradewinds 16 has culminated with our soldiers and sailors demonstrating yet again that they are among the finest in the world. Their contributions have enabled a successful iteration of Tradewinds and helped to lay the framework for future operations in the Caribbean region,” said LGen. Steve Bowes, Commander, Canadian Joint Operations Command.
Exercise Tradewinds 16 also witnessed the first operational activation of the CAF’s Operational Support Hub Latin America and the Caribbean. The Hub provided in-theatre support to the CAF participating in the largest component of the exercise in Jamaica.
Exercise Tradewinds 16 provides the CAF with an opportunity to increase interoperability between partner nations, crisis response capabilities, readiness, and communication.
As a follow-up, CAF representatives will join important regional and national decision makers at a seminar in July in Miami, Florida to discuss the results of this year’s exercise, along with short-term and long-term goals for future exercises.
Photo: Belize. 20 June 2015 – Two participants of jungle training from the Canadian Armed Forces and Jamaica Defence Force cross a river while trying to stay dry during phase II of Exercise TRADEWINDS 15. (Photo: Sgt Yannick Bédard, Canadian Forces Combat Camera)