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Hanging with the military

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, March 9, 2011

ARVIAT - The Community of Arviat was alive with military activity this past month.

Hundreds of personnel from the 38 Canadian Brigade Group Arctic Response Company and the Canadian Rangers took part in Exercise Northern Bison '11, focusing on Arctic response, adaptability and survival.

NNSL photo/graphicNNSL photo/graphic

Nathan Mamgark gets some instruction on properly sighting an assault rifle during the Canadian military's visit to Arviat in February of 2011. (857-4223 ) - photo courtesy of JAHS Photo Club

Units taking part included the 38 Canadian Brigade Group, Fort Garry Horse, 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, Winnipeg Infantry Tactical Group, Royal Winnipeg Rifles, Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada, Saskatchewan Infantry Tactical Group, Royal Regina Rifles, North Saskatchewan Regiment, Lake Superior Scottish Regiment, 38 Service Battalion, Arviat and Churchill Ranger patrols, 440 Vampire Transport Squadron and 1 Health Services Group.

It was the third year in a row the Canadian Forces conducted Arctic training.

While the soldiers were there to train, they had ample time to interact with the community, especially youth.

John Arnalukjuak High School teacher Gord Billard is changing one of his three photography courses into a skills club for TV and video production for the Skills Canada Nunavut competition in Iqaluit this coming month.

Billard said the military visit was a perfect chance for some of the students to work on their skills.

He said the visit was also a chance for him to learn.

"I know a bit about TV and video production, but not a whole lot," said Billard.

"Department of Education media specialist Eric Anoee is helping us with some sessions as we prepare for the competition.

"The military's visit was one of our first projects; to go and capture as much footage and still images as we could.

"We have to do a promotional or informational video at the competition, so working on the military footage will be good practice for the students going to Iqaluit."

Billard said the soldiers were very warm and accommodating when interacting with the youth of the community.

He said the gym where they stayed was left open during one of the days they were stranded by weather, so kids could come in to mingle, look at their gear and ask any questions they had.

"The soldiers really seemed to enjoy being with our kids, and the mood in the school was very positive while they were here.

"The community, in general, was fairly excited about their visit.

"As Mayor Bob Leonard said while talking to the army media guys, the community had been anticipating this visit since first finding out about it a couple of weeks before they arrived.

"Many people came out to see what was going on, and the military personnel brought along all kinds of bracelets, pins, calendars and other giveaways, which was really appreciated by everyone, especially the kids."