CANADIAN MANOEUVRE TRAINING CENTER, CAMP WAINRIGHT, Alberta --
Marines and Sailors with the Division Fire Support Cell, and Headquarters Platoon, 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, took part in Exercise Maple Resolve 2015 beginning May 3, 2015, aboard Canadian Maneuver Training Center Camp Wainwright, Alberta, providing logistical support, command and control, and even implementing some new communications capabilities.
Headquarters personnel arrived days before the 1st ANGLICO’s 2nd Brigade Platoon and began the embarkation process for the Marines and Sailors yet to arrive. This included arranging transportation from Royal Canadian Air Force Base Cold Lake, Alberta to Camp Wainwright and procuring billeting for the Marines upon arrival, and taking care of all logistical necessities prior to the exercise.
Once the Marines were established, the Division Fire Support Cell integrated into the Canadian Army’s joint operations center allowing the Marines to effectively employ 2nd Brigade Platoon in support of the exercise. The Division Fire Support Cell plans, coordinates, and employs supporting fires and makes recommendations to division commanders for assigning that fire support. This allowed the Canadian Army to have access to joint terminal air controllers and forward observers for requesting close air support, artillery, rockets and mortars.
The Marines and Sailors monitored 2nd Brigade Platoon, integrated into multiple allied units, through multiple radio platforms and were able to validate a new piece of equipment called the Rapid Response Kit (RRK).
The RRK gives 1st ANGLICO digital reach-back capabilities, which allows the company to integrate into the parent Marine Air-Ground Task Force networks.
“With the RRK we aren’t dependent on our allies’ systems; we don’t have to take internet cards or international cellphones,” said Sgt. Timothy Shirey, the data chief with 1st ANGLICO. “We have an entire network in a box that operates just as if you were sitting in your office.”
According to Lt. Col. Brian Russell, 1st ANGLICO’s commanding officer, the RRK allows planning to go smoother and allows a higher level of integration with foreign counterparts.
“It’s a key capability for our allied partners we go to war with. Often, they will fall under a U.S. lead, joint task force or component command and the ability for me to get on those U.S. networks and provide them access to fires is absolutely vital,” he explained.
The expertise of the HQ Platoon and Division Cell has set the entire company up for success for the remainder of three-week exercise.