Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE, a Villager’s Perspective
Cpl Kyle Meaney
In the early morning, as the fog settled over the village of Enriquillo, the chain of command had been awakened by the chatter of villagers. Warning of the American’s arrival through the tree line was scattering across the western flank of the town. Today commenced D-Day of Exercise Maple Resolve 1501 (Ex MR).
The Americans moved into an all-round defense, taking tactical positions along the perimeter of the village. They had also strategically placed vehicle check points (VCP) along every entrance and exit to the small village. The Americans (majority of them from the southern state of Georgia) were not familiar with the harsh and unforgiving climate of the West Isle. Over the course of the day they had experienced everything the country had to offer: rain, sleet, snow and the cutting wind that the locals are all too familiar with. As the sun crept down under the horizon, temperatures fell well below freezing. That night some of the locals had been awaken by the panic of members from the coalition forces falling to the effects of hypothermia. This ends the first day within the village.
As a few days passed by, many others had to be pulled off the line due to inclement weather. May 5th was a sad day in the village. The passing days had been quiet until the troops decided to move into the inner perimeter of Enriquillo. Shots were fired, and as the dust and confusion settled, we had found poor Carlos shot in cold blood. Unarmed and lifeless...simply hiding from the terrifying ordeal. With the village in shock and panic, 5 CMBG elements had displaced the villagers from their homes and businesses so they could conduct their search. That's when they came across an IED and had disposed of it in place with a Johnny 5 bomb robot almost six hours later.
D-day +7, two days since the most horrible day in Enriquillo history, we had finally been able to hold a funeral for those in the village. Visitors were brought from all over, including the southern village of Fundacion like Consuela aka Tpr Lukas Mckenzie and Chipa aka Tpr Kelton Watson, to pay their final respects to the loving family man. The next day, a CIMIC team had been placed in the southeast part of the village with very minimal security in place. That same day, May 8th, the coalition forces had left the village of Enriquillo, leaving only garbage and a CIMIC team behind. The next morning as the sun rose over the eastern horizon, the villagers noticed that the CIMIC team were nowhere to be seen but had left all of their equipment behind. The villagers, starving and dying of thirst, naturally went into the unprotected compound taking anything they could that could keep their families warm and nourished.
The next few days elements from the Canadian Armed Forces had come in and out, checking on the safety and security of the village. The constant presence had driven the insurgents and militia forces out of the village. As the military activity and daily commotion calmed down, the villagers were ecstatic to finally call Enriquillo the peaceful village they once knew home again. Its peace didn't come easy for both sides, having bloodshed and some men falling to the unforgiving weather. The villagers are still not sure to be thankful, upset, angry or all three towards the coalition forces. As the military swept its way through the neighboring villages pushing further west into the sunset with their silhouettes barely visible from a distance, they had finally marked the end of Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE 15.