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A total of 55 Canadian Rangers went on active duty in five communities and another 136 on standby status in 14 communities during the recent evacuations of about 3,500 residents of First Nations threatened by forest fires in northern Ontario.
Rangers played key roles in the evacuation of Sandy Lake and the partial evacuations of Eabametoong, Kasabonika Lake, Kingfisher Lake and Deer Lake. The partial evacuations were for the elderly, sick, pregnant mothers, and mothers with children.
The Junior Canadian Ranger patrol in Bearskin Lake has been named the outstanding Junior Ranger patrol in northern Ontario for a second consecutive year.
“It is the first time a patrol has won the award twice,” said Captain Caryl Fletcher, the officer commanding the 19 Junior Ranger patrols in northern Ontario. “That is an outstanding achievement.”
Camp Loon was “an excellent camp this year,” according to the officer commanding the 700 Junior Canadian Rangers across northern Ontario.
“It went very well,” said Captain Caryl Fletcher. “There were a lot of Junior Canadian Rangers who were first-timers at the camp. So it was a new experience for them and we also had a lot of younger Junior Rangers this year, aged 12 to 14. They were just thrilled to be here.”
Learning to drive an all-terrain vehicle properly was a key part of the safety training at Camp Loon, the annual advanced training camp for Junior Canadian Rangers, held in the bush north of Geraldton each July.
“Most Junior Canadian Rangers can ride an ATV but only a few can ride correctly and safely,” said warrant officer Johanne Martel, the Canadian Army instructor in charge of the ATV training site at the camp. “They just jump on an ATV in their communities and off they go, with no tuition at all.
Canadian Ranger marksmen from across northern Ontario won top honours at the Ontario Rifle Association provincial championships at Canadian Forces Base Borden.
Ranger Simon Shewaybick of Webequie, won the Ontario championship in the individual bolt-action rifle category and Sergeant Matthew Gull of Peawanuck won the trophy for the highest scoring shooter competing in the championships for the first time. All the Rangers competed using standard issue, .303-calibre Lee-Enfield rifles.
The largest number of Canadian Rangers ever to gather in northern Ontario have completed a five-day search and rescue training exercise.
“We had a record 101 Canadian Rangers from 21 communities participate in Exercise Ranger Tracker,” said Captain Mark Rittwage, officer commanding the Canadian Rangers in northern Ontario. “It was a great collective training exercise. It was highly successful.
Two Peawanuck men who got lost in a surprise blizzard were found alive after a complex search and rescue mission that involved Canadian Rangers, two Royal Canadian Air Force planes, a Wasaya Airways passenger aircraft, and members of the community’s search and rescue team and community volunteers.
Canadian Rangers from seven First Nation communities made a big impression on an army colonel during a four-day visit to northern Ontario.
“It has been a wonderful and very useful experience,” said Colonel Jennie Carignan, chief of staff for Land Force Central Area, the military name for the army in Ontario. “I was absolutely astonished at the way the Rangers have adapted to living extremely well in their environment.
“They are very knowledgeable about their own areas and their role is absolutely critical to the safety of their communities.”