Canadian Army Reservists exercise skills with allies in South Dakota during Exercise GOLDEN COYOTE 2017

Article / August 2, 2017 / Project number: 17-08-02-3div

By Captain Tanner Schroh, 38 Signal Regiment, 38 Canadian Brigade Group

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Belle Fourche, South Dakota — A group of Canadian soldiers and officers from 38 Canadian Brigade Group (38 CBG) participated in Exercise GOLDEN COYOTE, an engineering exercise with Danish and American soldiers run by the South Dakota Army National Guard. The exercise took place from June 12 to 20, 2017 throughout the Black Hills region of South Dakota and Wyoming to exercise American National Guard units and provide engineering and logistic support to several groups in South Dakota.

“The scale of GOLDEN COYOTE is massive. Two thousand troops are performing tasks across the state, completing training and assisting local communities. This exercise is important to South Dakota as it’s been taking place for thirty-three years.” said First Lieutenant Ellen Miller, Executive Officer of 200th Engineer Multi-Role Bridge Company (MRBC) out of Pierre, South Dakota.

South Dakota National Guard and Danish engineering units performed construction tasks throughout the Black Hills – building roads, bridges and sidewalks, as well as performing survey work. American logistic units also hauled timber to Native American reservations. While performing all this work, the exercise maintained a tactical focus, with opposing force actors portraying protestors and engaging in firefights with troops.

Canadian soldiers had a different focus: 38 CBG deployed a robust task force headquarters and signals troop, including a command team and engineer support centre. “We are here to exercise our staff, which was responsible for supporting an engineering task force – including the day-to-day support, planning and coordination,” said Major Piotr Sliwowski, Deputy Commanding Officer of the task force and a member of 38 CBG. “This allows the commander to focus on leading her troops, and the units to focus on completing their tasks.”

Engineering tasks were completed for civilian, federal and state organizations. “Having to support real-time engineering tasks, and coordinating with civilians and allied nations provides interesting training for all members of the staff,” said Captain Cory Gaudet, of 38 Combat Engineer Regiment. Exercising with American allies also provides valuable insights, as Canadian Army members share advice and experiences with the South Dakota Army National Guard.

Cross-training also occurred between Canadian and American troops. Canadian signallers assisted the 200th MRBC in maintaining communications with their headquarters and their bridging site on the Bell Fourche Reservoir. “After setting up our radios, we had the Canadians assist with our bridging. They assisted in setting up our Improved Ribbon Bridge, and operating our bridging boats,” said Staff Sergeant Dan Heil, Operations NCO for the 200th MRBC.

Although learning and interoperating is important, so is morale. Canadian soldiers participated in several professional development events that included urban patrol training, tours of Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse, and participating in a Wacipi – a Dakota and Lakota Sioux pow-wow.

American soldiers enjoyed working with their Canadian counterparts. “We have worked with Canadians before, and we take every opportunity to do so. One thing we notice about the Canadian Army is that they are very easy to work with.  It is clearly evident that they are here to support us, and they do it well. We absolutely appreciate their support!” said 1Lt Miller.

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