Tankers in the Desert: Op IMPACT Roto 8
By: Capt C.J. MacLean
In November 2022, 1 Combat Engineer Regiment took over from the Strathcona’s as the Lead Mounting Unit for Op IMPACT, Canada’s Training Mission in the Middle East. Despite the Regiment no longer being the lead for this mission, we are still well represented in Middle East, with several members deployed across the mission’s various units.
Majors Blake (Not Lyle) Tapp and Steve Couture are representing Canada as planners embedded in Op INHERENT RESOLVE, supporting the ongoing fight against Daesh by local and coalition partners and allies.
Captain Leon Van Heerden and Corporal Colby Smith are deployed as part of NATO Mission Iraq, NATO’s advisory and capacity-building effort to promote stable, professional security forces in Iraq. Capt Van Heerden is integrated with coalition partners in support of air operations, while Cpl Smith works closely with the movements team at 443d Air Expeditionary Squadron (US) to support coalition air lift within the Joint Operating Area (JOA).
Master Warrant Officer Michael Gratto is representing the Regiment in Amman, Jordan, as part of the Canadian Training and Assistance Team (CTAT) – Jordan capacity building team. There, they work closely with both the Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF) and Canadian Training Teams, coordinating requirements and requests for training, mentoring, and integration. Lately, CTAT-Jordan has been focused on mentoring students at the Jordanian NCO Academy, support to the Female Engagement Team, which provides basic skills to female members of the JAF, mentoring JAF Quick Reaction Force Battalions, and conducting a joint Canadian-Jordanian Joint Terminal Attack Controller course.
The Strathcona coming home with the most travel points accumulated will likely be Captain Kai Keewatin, the Executive Assistant to the Task Force Commander, who has tirelessly travelled around the JOA in this capacity since their deployment in May 2022, providing coordination and support to the Commander as they transit between the headquarters in Kuwait and the various units located in Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Qatar.
Finally, Captain Carsten MacLean is employed as the Deputy Commanding Officer/Operations Officer at CTAT-Lebanon, which provides capacity building and support to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). Capt MacLean’s efforts are focused on the planning, coordination, and execution of various Canadian Training Teams, including Sustainment, Winter, and Mountain training, while also building relationships with the LAF in order to promote ongoing professionalism and stability within the country.
While the Regiment and much of the CAF may be shifting focus towards the potential for upcoming deployments in Europe, this small but committed team are working to ensure the Regiment’s hard work as Lead Mounting Unit for Roto 7 is continued for the foreseeable future.