- Feb 8, 2007
- Land of Swine and Maple Syrup
CSOR provides close air support to MAPLE FLAG.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
COLD LAKE, Alberta — Exercise MAPLE FLAG generally prepares and tests pilots originating from various coalition nations for missions in potentially hostile environments.
This year, pilots were challenged with close air support (CAS) through a joint terminal attack controller (JTAC), with members of various international special operations forces (SOF) guiding them to their targets. Canada's SOF commitment included members of the Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR).
The CSOR team allowed Army News to follow them through a couple of missions during the exercise and a CSOR member was interviewed. For operational security reasons, he is referred to as Captain Dave.
"We are participating in a SOF package for MAPLE FLAG", he stated about his contribution. "We are working with coalition partners coordinating a CAS attack as part of the exercise."
CSOR soldiers have been busy training in the area recently. "We have done some dynamic JTAC training in the past few weeks," he continued. "Recently we were inserted by air, via parachute, into the Wainwright training area. Once on the ground we would call in air strikes while being followed and tracked by an enemy force provided by the Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre's opposing forces."
When asked what his team brought to the table for the exercise, this was Capt Dave's response: "We are able to coordinate an effective and efficient manner of calling in CAS missions executing precise targeting on the ground."
As every soldier gains something from their experiences, Capt Dave was asked about the benefits deriving from EX MAPLE FLAG for his team. "Working with the special operations forces of the other nations. The Belgians and the German tactical air control party have similar functions as we do. So, we learn various things from each other. They have different equipment than us and we show off some of ours to them. Essentially, we learn various techniques and improve our proficiency here on the ground."
The international SOF soldiers definitely stepped the training level up a notch. Although this year's Ex MAPLE FLAG was shorter and smaller in scale compared to previous years, several participants called it the best.
For more information on the Canadian Special Operations Regiment, please go to http://www.csor.forces.gc.ca/en/index_e.asp
This link will take you to Canadian Special Operations Forces Command:
Article by Sergeant Steve Hofman
Photos by Sgt Steve Hofman and Sgt Donald Clark
Looks like it was a good Ex and probably great experience for all involved.
I've met this Capt Dave, he's a dick. We had differing opinions on what sort of soldiers he should look to for recruiting into the JTAC program. He's a believer that they should be a "shooter" (qualified SOF Operator) first and that "you can teach them that radio stuff in a day". I tried to convince him that if you took Radio Operator's from the Army that have Tac Aviation experience and FAC's, and send them through the normal SOF screening/training before they start the JTAC training.
Our eyes on the ground, Forward air controllers (FACs).