Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


(Adam Riley / Acadia Broadcasting)

Navy exercise a success

By Adam Riley Oct 3, 2023 | 10:21 AM

A training exercise held this weekend by HMCS Griffon saw more than 150 members of the Canadian Armed Forces from across the country train in the Lakehead region for Exercise Waking Giant.

The weather, including Sunday’s fog, added a degree of difficulty according to Training officer Lieutenant Antonio Redfern Pucci but one that enhanced the training.

“It was really challenging for both people on the water and controlling the operations so they really had to bring their ‘A’ game when it came to boat handling skills, navigating skills and communication skills.”

Thick heavy fog and strong waves on Lake Superior made the start of day two of Exercise Waking Giant a challenge but one that was easily overcome (Adam Riley / Acadia Broadcasting)

Redfern Pucci notes the rural areas along with an active harbour make Thunder Bay an ideal training location.

The exercise was geared more so towards local support for disaster relief and emergency search and rescue, including for incidents here in the Northwest and included support from the Lake Superior Scottish Regiment, the 18th Field Ambulance, and the Canadian Coast Guard.

Sunday’s fog hampered part of the exercise, as Search and Rescue technicians were supposed to parachute out to simulated rescue sites in the Sturgeon Bay area, however organizers and command were able to pivot, placing them in watercraft and landing with other members to to administer aid.

Canadian Armed Forces SAR Technicians and medics stabilize a patient during a training exercise in Sturgeon Bay on Oct 1, 2023 (Adam Riley / Acadia Broadcasting)

It also was an opportunity for other supporting elements of the armed forces to test themselves as S2 David Bray from HMCS Prevost, based out of London, explains in an unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar allies..

“We had cooks from all over so it was great to see how everyone does things a little bit different and also just the fact that its very busy for all the boatswains and everybody out on the water.”

Plans are already in motion for next year’s Exercise Waking Giant, one Bray hopes to participate in again.

Among those participating in the exercise was one of the newest members of HMCS Griffon, 17 year old Sailor 3rd Class Maddox Holmes, played a critical role as an injured member of an 18 person kayaking expedition who hit some rough weather.

“I actually did basic training this summer, we were kind of directing, helping set up and clean up behind the scenes.”

Sailor 3rd Class Maddox Holmes (right) plays the role of an injured kayaker and is assisted as part of a rescue (Adam Riley / Acadia Broadcasting)

One of the benefits of the exercise according to Redfern Pucci is unlike naval training which takes place on larger vessels and on coastal naval bases, small boat exercises using RHIBs and Zodiacs offer more command and control exercises for junior officers.

“For the sailors they get a lot of time with the work boats of the fleet, so they get a lot more handling skills than they might get while they’re out on the coast. Then there’s a lot of team cohesion, small group leadership aspects that we can really work on here that is unique to these types of exercises.”

Planning is already getting underway for Exercise Waking Giant 2024, which will change the simulation up a little bit once again.