The month of October for eFP Latvia saw the Battle Group (BG) deploy on our rotation’s biggest exercises of the tour. The NATO Combat Readiness Evaluation (CREVAL) exercise, Ex SILVER ARROW, was conducted in two phases, first in South-Eastern Latvia and then in the Camp Adazi Training Area. For the first phase of Ex SILVER ARROW we established our mirrored command posts (CP) in both airfield and austere locations this enabled C2 of the BG while exercising our staff and the passage of control. This phase was also our opportunity to test BLOS systems over long distances to confirm our ability to C2 the defense of Latvia, and prepare for future trg. The second phase of the ex gave the BG the opportunity to prove their ability to effectively defend Latvian sovereignty in the event of a land attack. The Latvian Mechanized Infantry Brigade acted as both flanking units and OPFOR, while the BG conducted a complex mobile and area defense. Our signalers demonstrated their expertise on the many comms systems deployed here in a robust PACE plan. TacSat, HF and VHF, orders over HPW and sent via Signals Dispatch Service and approximately 35km of line for field phones were employed throughout the ex, not to mention no less than three data networks extended by the CIS Sqn back at Camp Adazi. This two-week exercise demonstrated to both our NATO allies and potential adversaries of eFP Latvia’s unwavering ability to deter and if necessary defend Latvia against foreign aggression.
Our next big exercise, Ex FURIOUS AXE, was unique in the fact that the Battle Group acted as enemy force in what was eFP Estonia’s own NATO confirmation exercise. While the British-led Estonian BG conducted their own defensive, all nations of the Latvian BG conducted a variety of offensive ops over the one-week exercise. During this time, Signals Platoon deployed both a static rear area CP and light mobile Forward CP in order to maintain effective communications on all systems throughout the battlefield. One unique opportunity for signalers was to attach Canadian sigs to each Coy for all nations. Canadian signalers were attached to Italian, Spanish, Slovakian and Polish companies to both translate and relay orders to the Coy Comds. In these positions our signalers had the chance to gain familiarity on other nations’ equipment, vehicles, battle rhythm and culture – all contributing to creating a more integrated and cohesive BG. These signalers also had to work through the distinct challenge of language barriers and accurately communicating orders from higher to their respective company commanders.
These major exercises for eFP 20-02 Latvia BG allowed the Signals Platoon to train with all of our comms systems, all nations within the BG, and overcome the tactical challenges of bde and BG level maneuver. Thought these exercises were the capstone of our rotation, there’s still much time and much left to accomplish.
Cpl Caleigh Wong
36 Signal Regiment, Halifax