CANADIAN MANOEUVRE TRAINING CENTER, CAMP WAINRIGHT, Alberta --
The Marines and Sailors of 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, kicked off Exercise Maple Resolve 2015 with the Canadian Armed Forces at the Canadian Maneuver Training Center, Camp Wainwright, Alberta, May 2, 2015.
The multi-national exercise, conducted annually by the Canadian Army, is a three-week high-readiness validation exercise for Canadian Army elements designated for domestic or international operations. This year, the 1st Canadian Army Division and the 5th Canadian Mechanized Battle Group (5 CMBBG) are being supported by the British 12th Armoured Infantry Brigade, various U.S. Army elements, and for the first time, members of I MEF’s 1st ANGLICO who bring a unique capability to the table.
“Maple Resolve 15 is the certification exercise for the 5 CMBG because they are the [Canadian Army’s] battle group in high readiness, essentially their crisis response force,” explained Lt. Col. Brian Russell, 1st ANGLICO’s commanding officer. “Much like the [U.S. Marine Corps] maintains Marine Expeditionary Brigades in a crises response posture -- this is same thing here with the Canadian Army. We’re here to support the exercise.”
The unit is designed to allow the Marines and Sailors of I MEF to assist partner-country’s militaries by providing them fire support capabilities from artillery, aircraft and ships while they are working hand-in-hand with the MEF and joint U.S. military forces. The unit also provides an ability to advise and train their partner militaries which assists in theater support cooperation around the world.
“We are meeting some of the [Commandant of the Marine Corp’s] intent in his most recent planning guidance to build partner capacity,” Russell stated. “Part of the reason we do these exercises with our strategic allies is when we go to war we often find [them] right here with us.”
“We are here to help the Canadians not just operationally, but from an institutional perspective, we are helping them bridge Canadian Army and [Royal Canadian] Air Force capabilities,” he added.
1st ANGLICO is organized into teams which are able to attach to and support various sized military elements. There is a Headquarters Platoon and a Division Fire Support Cell which is comprised of forward observers, radio operators, joint terminal air controllers and all the support capabilities needed to assist a commander in calling in precise and timely fire and communications support.
The division cell coordinates and supports with smaller teams that they assign to subordinate elements. These small teams are called Brigade Platoons, Supporting Arms Liaison Teams, and Fire Power Control Teams.
“I brought essentially a slice from my entire command from my company headquarters all the way down,” Russell said. “[We] bring fire support planning, coordination, and capabilities to integrate with our allied partners.”
Maple Resolve is the first time 1st ANGLICO has supported such a large force in recent years, in a near peer force on force exercise.
“The Marine Corps is getting back to some higher-level, major contingency operations scenarios. The same thing is going on here in the Canadian Army,” Russell said. “We are designed as an ANGLICO to support a joint or coalition division operating as a second ground combat element underneath a MEF, so that’s why I view this as a very valuable opportunity.”
He added that Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom required the need for smaller sized teams as opposed to a Division Fire Support Cell and that this exercise and similar training allow the company to refresh their conventional skillset.
“As the entire Marine Corps looks to reset the operations in the future, it’s the same thing in the ANGLICO community,” he added. “We are looking for opportunities like this to reset ourselves for that next fight.”