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Military relocates Commando regiment to Comox
Date: Tuesday, January 30 2007
Topic:


Military relocates new anti-terror unit Commando regiment to be based in Comox

David Pugliese
CanWest News Service
January 30, 2007

OTTAWA -- The military will create a 250-member Marine Commando Regiment at its base in Comox as part of an expansion and reorganization of its special forces units.

The Comox regiment will focus entirely on maritime operations, and will be able to react to sea borne terrorist incidents, both at home and internationally. It will also be given the job of rescuing Canadians trapped in war-torn nations that are accessible by sea. While it's expected to start with about 250 personnel, the military plans to expand the regiment over the years.

Details about the new unit will be released when the Harper government tables its long-awaited "Canada First" defence strategy that was supposed to be released last fall.

As part of that new strategy, the military will move its 600-member Joint Task Force 2 counter-terrorism unit to Trenton, Ont., from its current location in Dwyer Hill, Ont., just south of Ottawa. It will also further expand a recently formed special forces regiment located at Petawawa, Ont., and pre-position special forces equipment at sites around the country to allow for a quicker response to terrorist attacks.

JTF2 will complete the move to its new home at Canadian Forces Base Trenton by 2010. Positioning JTF2 at one of the country's main air bases allows it immediate access to aircraft for both domestic and overseas missions, military officers said.

The idea for the Comox regiment was first mentioned last June by Rear Admiral Roger Girouard, commander of maritime forces in the Pacific, during a speech in Victoria. At the time, he said "no decisions had been made" about the regiment, but he noted that ferries and cruise ships are particularly vulnerable to terror attacks, and indicated the unit would likely comprise of navy personnel and specially trained officers.

Currently, the military base in Comox is focused on air force operations. Built in 1942 to defend against a possible Japanese invasion, it is the only air force base in B.C., and employs about 1,400 people. It is responsible for maritime patrol and search and rescue operations.

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[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on January 31, 2007]

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