Victoria infantry troops to storm Metchosin beaches

Canada and U.S. military personnel train together during exercise

As the sun begins to climb into the sky Friday morning, infantry soldiers will swarm the beaches at Rocky Point in Metchosin.

During the dramatic exercise, reservists from Victoria’s Canadian Scottish Regiment and Kamloops’ Rocky Mountain Rangers will be delivered to CFB Esquimalt’s ammunition depot on rigid-hulled inflatable boats, deployed from HMCS Ottawa and Regina.

“Delivering troops ashore safely is a complex military operation that includes co-ordinating sea, land and air forces,” the navy said in a statement.

The training mission is part of a larger task group exercise taking place off the west coast of the Island, from March 5 to 16. More than 1,000 Canadian and U.S. military personnel will hone their anti-submarine and anti-warfare skills together until March 16.

Canadian submarine HMCS Victoria is also taking part, as it works toward the goal of becoming fully operational.

“The importance of interoperability between our three armed services and also with our allies cannot be overstated,” Commodore Peter Ellis, commander of the Pacific fleet, said in a statement.

“It is evident in our shared coastline, shared challenges, and shared goals for emergency readiness,” he said. “A task group exercise accomplishes this, serving also to hone skills at the individual and unit levels.”

Canada’s military component also includes a Sea King helicopter from 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron at Pat Bay and an Aurora long-range patrol plane from 407 Maritime Patrol Squadron at 19 Wing Comox.

The U.S. contingent includes two naval ships and an anti-submarine warfare aircraft.

emccracken@vicnews.com