Canadian Army headed into Niagara

Niagara will soon look like a scene out of the 1984 classic ‘Red Dawn’ as the Canadian military begin their domestic operation.

Almost 2,000 troops will be taking part in the training exercise from Aug. 17-23, where a fictional army have invading Eastern Canada and are closing in on capturing the Welland Canal.

“Every exercise needs a scenario and this one here is really fictional,” Major Tim van Mourik of the 31 Canadian Brigade Group told Pelham Council last Tuesday night.

While it may look like a Soviet invasion, van Mourik say they mean peace. Soldiers will be walking around in full military gear and will be using land and air support to halt the fictional enemy.

The majority of the soldiers will be staying on private property, the Welland fair ground, and some along the Welland Canal.

He told council it will be a “neat” experience for the public to view the military operations in their own backyard. None of the soldiers will not be stationed inside Pelham but they plan on doing an air drop at the Central Airport, if the weather cooperates.

Despite all the military personal in Niagara, van Mourik says the operation will be relatively quiet. Soldiers will be shooting blanks, but no explosives or smoke will be used.

They plan on providing a public demonstration, which will be announced closer to the training exercise.

“We’re hoping the community will be supportive in our realistic training,” van Mourik said. “It’s exciting and in your own backyard.”

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