The 1st Canadian Division (1 Cdn Div) “Red Devils” deployed on Exercise ULCHI FREEDOM GUARDIAN 14 (Ex UFG 14) in the City of Yongin in the Republic of Korea (ROK), 10-31 August 2014. Ex UFG14 is an annual theatre level Computer Aided Exercise (CAX). 1 Cdn Div was employed as a maneuver Division, flanking with 1 x US Division and 2 x ROK Divisions, under OPCON of I (US) Corps and the Third Republic of Korean Army (TROKA). The dispersion of various elements of I (US) Corps and 1 Cdn Div, from the Korea peninsula, to Hawaii and Washington State presented unique time zone and communication challenges.
There was no shortage of engineering problems, as one can imagine in an Army level exercise in conventional warfighting in mountainous terrain. Augmented by 4 Engineer Support Regiment out of Gagetown, NB, the 1 Cdn Div conducted a Joint Operational Planning Group in Kingston, ON in June. Over the next couple of months, the plan was refined as back briefs were conducted at several levels, leading up to the deployment. Once forward deployed, the Comd of 1 Cdn Div, MGen Dean Milner delivered his back brief to the Commanding General I (US) Corps, LTG Lanza, and then the plan was finalised. There were several injects and additions throughout the four day exercise that challenged the 1 Cdn Div and the Engr Staff. Notwithstanding the challenges, once across the line of departure, the Red Devils advanced with momentum and purpose.
The exercise was an outstanding opportunity to develop relationships with I (US) Corps Engineer planners as well as an opportunity to meet members of different types of Engineer Brigade in the United States Army. Specifically, 555th “Triple Nickel” Engineer Brigade and the 110th Manoeuvre Enhancement Brigade bring some unique capabilities to the fight.
Exploiting a professional development opportunity while in Korea, “Red Devils 99” led the Team in touring the De-militarized Zone between the Democratic People`s Republic of Korea and the ROK. The obvious tension and 50 years of build-up greatly enforced the seriousness of an exercise like Ex UFG 14 and the need to focus on honing conventional warfighting skills.