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Article / April 22, 2016

 “Wow, they almost look like a couple of Canadians!” observed one of the members of 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (2 PPCLI), as two Australian soldiers efficiently made their way down a live pairs range.

2 PPCLI is hosting a section of soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR) for a week during Exercise PROMETHEAN RAM 16 in April in Wainwright, Alberta.

 “This exchange is an opportunity for our two units to pay tribute to our shared history and reinvigorate ties into the future,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Wayne Niven, Commanding Officer of 2 PPCLI .  “Despite the geographic distance and some differences between us, there are certainly many more similarities in the way we operate.” 

Following a familiarization session which introduced them to the Canadian kit and weapons they would be using, the section of Australian soldiers was attached to the 2 PPCLI Recce Platoon for dry and live-fire training of increasing complexity. Their integration into 2 PPCLI culminates in a live Convoy Range on April 24th, where the combined Canadian and Australian soldiers will need to defend their vehicle convoy in various scenarios.


This exchange is an opportunity for our two units to pay tribute to our shared history and reinvigorate ties into the future

Later on the 24th, the two units will mark the 65th anniversary of the Battle of Kapyong  – the defining moment of the Korean War that originally brought the two units together.

 “The exchange is a great chance to connect with an ally,” said Lieutenant Iain Best, section commander of the 9-man team from 3 RAR.   “I’m looking forward to training in some new terrain, picking up some tips from our Canadian counterparts, and certainly commemorating the Battle of Kapyong.” 

2 PPCLI and 3 RAR were both awarded the United States Presidential Unit Citation for their actions during the Korean War at Kapyong from April 21st to 25th, 1951. Both units continue to proudly display the blue Distinguished Unit Emblem, affectionately referred to as the “swimming pool,” on the sleeves of their dress uniforms to this day.

The tables will turn later in April when 3 RAR  will play host to a contingent of 2 PPCLI soldiers. The Canadians are looking forward to celebrating ANZAC day in Australia, as well as participating in  3 RAR’s Opie Trophy.

 “It’ll be tough as the newcomers, but we’re looking to represent Canada well,”  said Sergeant Matt Lewis, who will lead the section from 2 PPCLI’s Recce Platoon against teams from 3 RAR. The Opie Trophy, which will be held on April 30th, emphasizes section-level (8 person) teamwork and tests military skills including a navigation exercise and live fire range.

Despite the friendly competition to bring out the best in each individual soldier and team, the unit exchange as a whole has already provided a great opportunity for Canadian and Australian soldiers to rub shoulders with their fellow commonwealth allies, trade best practices, and pay tribute to a long-standing unit affiliation forged during the Battle of Kapyong.

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