Exercise NIJMEGEN on hold for CAF Personnel until 2024

Canadian Armed Forces personnel will not be taking part in Exercise NIJMEGEN, the internationally renowned four-day march, until the summer of 2024 in an effort to focus on the CAF Reconstitution plan, according to a CANFORGEN issued to CAF members last month.

In the announcement issued to the CAF, Gen. Wayne Eyre, Chief of the Defence Staff, explained how the military’s efforts right now are towards reconstitution. Last summer, Eyre issued a CAF Reconstitution Plan that is “focussed on prioritizing effort and resources on people – rebuilding our strength while making much-needed changes to aspects of our culture.”

Members of Joint Task Force Nijmegen participate in the 2017 Four Days Marches Nijmegen on July 19, 2017.
Photo: Master Corporal Charles A. Stephen, Formation Imaging Services Halifax

According to the letter issued by Gen. Wayne last summer, the plan would form the foundation of CAF activities going forward. Hence, the decision to postpone military participation in the Nijmegen March.

“A/COMD MILSPERCOM recognizes and appreciates the effort of all JTF Nijmegen contingent staff, marchers and support personnel over the years and looks forward to signalling the resumption of JTF Nijmegen activities, in a format aligned with CAF Reconstitution efforts,” stated the announcement.

The Nijmegen March, conducted in the Netherlands, attracts approximately 50,000 marchers from 73 countries every year. Canada has participated in the event since 1952 and in more recent times in an official capacity under “authority JTF NIJMEGEN.”

Members of the Royal Westminster Regiment Nijmegen Team celebrate the completion of the Nijmegen Marches during the traditional “Via Gladiola” – a victory lap where military marchers parade in downtown Nijmegen, Netherlands, on July 19, 2019. Photo courtesy of Avr(T) Jerome Lessard – OPTIC

Also known as the 4Day Marches, the March has been on a hiatus for two years due to COVID-19 but is set to return this summer. The march, which has been happening for over 110 years, began as a military march.

“The 4Days Marches moved along with the world’s history. Our event survived world wars, followed social developments, experienced one exceptional low point and reached many incredible heights. This rich history has shaped the event into what it is today: The Walk of the World,” stated the 4Days website.

The CAF will continue to retain a JTF NIJMEGEN desk officer to field any event-related questions.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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