A convoy of military vehicles rolled through the Prince George area. It was an uncommon sight but army officials said this was no invasion, it was a trip to a training exercise.
The 18 trucks were hauling personnel and equipment from Canadian Forces Base Edmonton to the military's rural outdoor training facility in the Chilcotin. The group was from the Combat Engineers Regiment of 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (1CMBG).
"They are doing 'Exercise Homestead Sapper,'" said Lt. (Navy) Tony Wright, a public affairs officer for 1CMBG. "It is a unit level exercise to maintain their individual battle task standards. It's a routine exercise they do from time to time to keep up their proficiencies and their battle capabilities. Engineers work alongside infantry and artillery in battlefield operations, they are a very important part of any military operation."
They will be testing their skills in basic battlefield engineering tasks, laying bridges, rafting supplies across water, explosives, and other topics.
The Department of National Defense conducts most training missions in Western Canada at places like Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Wainwright and CFB Shilo. The Chilcotin facility was rarely used in recent decades but increasingly of interest to the Canadian Forces in the region.
"It's got unique mountains and wooded terrain," said Wright. "Wainwright doesn't have those features. It is the first time this regiment has been deployed to the Chilcotin in more than 10 years, and not since they were based out of Chilliwack before moving to CFB Edmonton."
About 350 soldiers will be involved in this training exercise. Although they travelled there in one convoy, they will make the return trip in fragmented groupings and perhaps on low-bed trucks, but Wright said the Prince George public might see some of those vehicles on the move headed back to Alberta in the days ahead.