The third iteration of Exercise SOUTHERN CROSS is currently underway in Darwin, Australia with the participation of the 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group.
Running until Aug. 26, Exercise SOUTHERN CROSS brings together ten Canadian Rangers with personnel from the North-West Mobile Force, one of three Australian Defence Force Regional Force Surveillance Units. These units are similar to Canadian Rangers in origin, purpose and culture.
“As the Canadian Ranger National Authority, I am deeply proud of the Canadian Rangers, and bilateral training opportunities such as Ex SOUTHERN CROSS allow other nations to discover firsthand the dedication and professionalism of our Rangers. The relationship that will be developed between the 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group and the Australian Defence Force’s North West Mobile Force has tremendous potential and will be a great experience for everyone participating,” Brigadier General Rob Roy MacKenzie, Chief of Staff Army Reserve, Canadian Army Headquarters.
During this time, the Canadian Rangers and their Australian counterparts will exchange best practices, training methods, procedures, and cultural aspects.
“The reciprocal exchange between the 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group and the Australian Defence Force’s North West Mobile Force (NORFORCE) leverages the stark parallels in the history, current roles, and culture of both organizations, to provide abundant shared best practices and improve the quality of the respective units. The benefits of this international engagement also include significant unit recruitment and motivational and retention potential, while enhancing bilateral relations between the Canadian Armed Forces and Australian Defence Force — and indeed, bolstering relations between two very similar Pacific Rim countries,” stated Lieutenant Colonel Russ Meades, Commanding Officer, 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group.
This is the third occasion that members from the 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group are training with members from the North-West Mobile Force as part of Exercise SOUTHERN CROSS. Previous iterations of the exercise took place in 2011 and 2015.
In October of last year, the 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group hosted their Australian Counterparts on Canadian soil for Exercise NORTHERN LIGHTS.
The 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group is the second largest Canadian Ranger unit and is responsible for remote northern and isolated coastal areas of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
There are approximately 5,000 Canadian Rangers currently serving in five Canadian Ranger Patrol Groups that span more than 200 communities. The mission of Canadian Rangers is to provide lightly-equipped, self-sufficient, mobile forces in support of the Canadian Armed Forces’ sovereignty and domestic missions. Rangers often serve in sparsely settled, remote and isolated locations in Canada that are not as easily accessible by other parts of the CAF.