B.C. Army Reserves join massive mobilization

Sergeant Joanna Cisneros from the Royal Westminster Regiment

Sergeant Joanna Cisneros from the Royal Westminster Regiment inspect a warehouse in Langley, British Columbia, that will potentially be used to store incoming shipments of Personal Protective Equipment for the Government of Canada. Photo by Pte Daniel Pereira, 39 CBG Public Affairs

Capt Jeff Manney, Public Affairs Officer, 39 Canadian Brigade Group ~

Befitting a period where the extraordinary is the new norm, the call-up of Primary Reservists across the country has reached a telling milestone.

The nation-wide activation of Reservists – just under 1,000 in British Columbia alone between the Navy Reserve, 39 Canadian Brigade Group, and the Canadian Rangers – is set to be the largest since the beginning of the Second World War.

“The response of our forces to this crisis has been overwhelming, and heartwarming,” says Col Paul Ursich, Commander 39 Canadian Brigade Group, headquartered in Vancouver. “We’ve watched in awe as healthcare providers, first responders, and grocery store clerks have taken up positions on the front lines. I know our Reservists and their Regular Force counterparts are just as eager to step up and do what they can for their fellow Canadians.”

Canadian Armed Forces activity in B.C. to date has been confined mostly to planning and preparation, readying forces to respond when either the provincial or federal government makes an official “Request for Assistance.” 

Complicating the matter is that Reservists in B.C. must juggle any potential response to COVID-19 with their responsibility to support government agencies following natural disasters such as wildfires or floods.

“Our COVID-19 response, under Operation Laser, is first and foremost in our sights,” says Col Ursich. “But Mother Nature is only just coming out of hibernation; we’ve got to anticipate that we might need to help fight floods, fires or any other type of natural disaster while we continue to cope with the virus.”

To ensure rapid response anywhere in the province, Joint Task Force (Pacific) has established a Land Component Command (LCC), under Col Ursich, that reports to Rear Admiral Bob Auchterlonie, Commander Joint Task Force (Pacific). The LCC will be responsible for all operations conducted on land in the province. It is broken down into six Land Task Forces – five that together cover Vancouver Island, Vancouver coastal regions, the Fraser Valley, and the North and Interior.

The sixth task force comprises more than 120 Rangers from 4 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, who will assist remote communities throughout the province. The LCC is also working closely with Navy Reserve teams that have been built for land-based operations.

Without an official request for assistance related to COVID-19, Col Ursich says it’s hard to know exactly what the government will ask of its Primary Reservists.

“It could be anything from delivering food to a remote community to setting up a field hospital to supporting the B.C. Wildfire Service. We just don’t know at this point. What we do know for certain is that we will be ready.”


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  1. The xtra manpower will be greatly appreciated in this time of need !!

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