Camp Dona Ana, Fort Bliss, Texas
Today, after almost a month in desert-like training at Fort Bliss, Texas, Exercise Southern Bear has officially ended. The approximately 3,000 soldiers who took part in the exercise will soon be heading back to Canada.
During this month long exercise soldiers conducted Combat Team attacks, convoy training, IED training and specific training pertaining to their tasks in Afghanistan.
“I am very pleased with everything that we accomplished during our short time here,” said Colonel Dean Milner, Commander of 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (2 CMBG). “The exceptional facilities at Fort Bliss allowed us to train in an environment that is similar to Afghanistan.”
The completion of the exercise marks another major milestone on the road to Afghanistan that began last August for many of the soldiers from Petawawa’s 2 CMBG. Aside from the Joint Task Force Afghanistan Headquarters that is scheduled to depart at the end of April, most of the soldiers training for the deployment will leave for Afghanistan during September.
“This exercise allowed us to bring together all of the Task Force elements that will deploy to Afghanistan. It helped us prepare them for the next major training event in Wainwright, Alberta during May called Exercise Maple Guardian.” added Colonel Milner. “We have done everything to make sure that the soldiers are prepared for success at Wainwright and later on in Afghanistan.”