4 CES trains engineers on Exercise Northern Flag


Water, Fuel and Environment Technicians operate a reverse osmosis water purification unit at the beginning of Exercise Northern Flag.
Photo: Jeff Gaye

Jeff Gaye

4 Construction Engineering Squadron (4 CES) has just wrapped up Exercise Northern Flag, a two week long pre-deployment exercise for Construction Engineering officers and technicians. According to 4 CES Commanding Officer Maj Jason Hartwig, Ex Northern Flag is “tailored for engineers who are targeted for high readiness to deploy.”

Trades included on the exercise are water, fuel and environment technicians, refrigeration and mechanical technicians, electrical distribution and electrical generating system technicians, carpenters, plumbers, firefighters and mobile support equipment operators.

The exercise ran from August 21 to September 1. It started with common bed down training for the 30 candidates, followed by individualized trade specific training after the second day. This exposed them to equipment they may see overseas but do not use on a regular basis while at their home bases.

At the same time, the officers and senior non-commissioned members received leadership training with a specific focus on planning and setting up a camp.

“They are instructed on developing a camp bed-down plan,” Maj Hartwig said. “We’ll want our accommodation tents here, our headquarters here, our washrooms, laundry and bath units here – they learn how to lay out the camp in accordance with the Fire Marshall’s Directive.”
Once the leaders planned out the camp and delivered their orders, the troops got to work setting up the camp. The students live in and operate the camp from that point onward. “The course is set up to prepare them for when there’s nothing there,” Maj Hartwig said. “If you’re going somewhere new and you want to set up a tented camp, this is how you do it.”

“Living together under canvas for five days or a week brings an element of team cohesion together,” he said. “They’re in the tents, they share knowledge, they see all the kit and they’re interested in the other people’s equipment. They learn from each other.”

Additional challenges were injected into the scenario, including “host nation support” tasks. These are smaller engineering jobs, outside of the exercise’s primary mandate, which allow for additional trade specific training for the CE personnel.

The trainees came from 17 Wing Winnipeg, 8 Wing Trenton, 14 Wing Greenwood and 4 Wing Cold Lake. Those from 17 Wing and 8 Wing, which are the high readiness wings, will likely have an opportunity to deploy and utilize the training in the near future.

4 CES is a lodger unit at CFB Cold Lake. It is under the command of 2 Wing Bagotville, the RCAF’s expeditionary wing.