A visit to Operation Palaci 

Operation Palaci

Capt(N) Alex Kooiman (left), and the Honourable Janet Austin (centre), speak with Lt Andrew Casey, Troop Commander before the live firing at Rogers Pass. Photo by SLt Wilson Ho.

Sub-Lieutenant Wilson Ho 
MARPAC Public Affairs

Last week, Captain(N) Alex Kooiman, MARPAC Chief of Staff Operations, accompanied Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, on a site visit to Rogers Pass.

The two met with Royal Canadian Artillery troops on March 16 who are deployed on Operation Palaci. They were also greeted by Parks Canada staff.

Operation Palaci is the Canadian Armed Forces’ support for the Parks Canada program to control avalanches in Rogers Pass. If uncontrolled avalanches were to take place, they can block the essential road and railway linking British Columbia to the rest of Canada. Operation Palaci is run under a Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of National Defence and Parks Canada.

The visit began with a tour of the firing site, followed by a live firing using a 105mm Howitzer. Coordinating with Parks Canada staff, the Howitzer gun crew were given coordinates to locations where avalanches would most likely occur. There were five fire missions in total and both Capt(N) Kooiman and the Lieutenant Governor were given the opportunity to fire the Howitzer.

Following the live firing, Capt(N) Kooiman and LGov Austin were given a tour of the Rogers Pass Discovery Center. There, the Lieutenant Governor spoke to the troops and thanked them for the work they were doing to help ensure the highway and railway were unencumbered and flowing freely. She also presented a few awards to deserving members of the troop.

Operation Palaci

LGov Austin prepares to fire the 105mm Howitzer while a member of the troop acts as safety.

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