Regular and Reserve forces join together on Op CADENCE
By Private Aaron Batten
Canada welcomed world leaders to Charlevoix, Quebec for the annual Group of Seven (G7) Summit from June 8-9, 2018. Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Bagotville was the landing zone for many of these leaders, the first of many stepping stones which they would walk upon leading up to the meetings.
The G7 consists of seven of the world’s advanced economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The forum offers an opportunity for G7 leaders, ministers and policy makers to come together each year to build consensus and set trends around some of today’s challenging global issues.
The Canadian Army took up positions around Bagotville in conjunction with other security elements. More than 2000 military members consisting of Regular Force and Reservists from the Army, Navy, and Air Force provided unique military capabilities in support of Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) security operations. Together, we kept our world leaders safe.
We deployed on this security tasking under Operation CADENCE, named after the traditional call-and-response song sung by military personnel while marching.
Extensive training was necessary to ensure all military personnel were capable of carrying out security duties. We received briefings on the Rules Of Engagement and the routes on which we would be traveling during the operation, in addition to training sessions covering basic French, physical training, and hand-to-hand combat.
Knowing the correct procedure when confronting difficult situations is key in making split second decisions. We had to understand the lay of the land in order to establish an efficient Quick Reaction Task Force. In order to further ensure our success, we were instructed on how to safely and professionally handle potential altercations with civilians.
Improving existing security infrastructure was necessary to handle an influx of personnel seeking entry into CFB Bagotville. Politicians, private security personnel, diplomats, civilian and military personnel all converged upon this nexus. Reinforcing fencing, rerouting traffic, establishing vehicle checkpoints, constructing observation posts, and issuing identification cards all helped ensure our ability to keep tight control.
Monitoring CFB Bagotville was a constant duty prior to the G7 Summit. On chilly, misty mornings, we patrolled the perimeter of the airport utilizing all-terrain vehicles to maneuver through the steep, rocky, wooded Canadian landscape. As the day wore on, sweltering heat seared the sea-can shelter we used for an observation post as we manned vehicle check points at all hours, rain or shine.
Platoons of soldiers worked in rotating shifts. Morale remained high as we maintained ceaseless vigilance despite physical and mental fatigue, and a relentless operational tempo. Our platoon bonded during these hours, facing obstacles head on and overcoming them as a team.
It was a humbling experience for us to face these challenges, and we are all thankful for the opportunity granted to us with Operation CADENCE. We demonstrated that Canada is strong, proud, and ready to face any challenge as we march forward in cadence.