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Nunakput doesn't stay put for long
Rangers, navy, military and more gather for community BBQ

Stewart Burnett
Northern News Services
Thursday, July 13, 2017

For Sgt. Larry Koe of the Aklavik Canadian Rangers, Operation Nunakput was his first chance to work with the Canadian Navy in an extended role.

NNSL photograph

Fisheries Officer Terry Stein gets a hotdog during the Operation Nunakput community barbecue. - Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo

"It's pretty interesting," said Koe, who was in Inuvik during a community event Sunday, July 9.

Operation Nunakput is an annual Joint Task Force North operation that serves as a training operation for several organizations tasked with Canadian defence.

One of the major exercises this year was bringing the organizations up the Mackenzie River from Yellowknife to Tuktoyaktuk.

Koe, who has been a Ranger since 1997, was about to bring the members of the Canadian Armed Forces and employees from other government departments to Aklavik.

In each community, the Canadian Rangers meet with the service men and women first before bringing them into town.

Eyes and ears

Commanding Officer Luis Carvallo said the Rangers really are the eyes and ears of the North.

"The Rangers are doing a fantastic job," he said.

Part of the goal of the operation is to establish a military presence in the communities.

The operation brings many agencies together, from the Canadian Armed Forces to Air Force, Navy, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Coast Guard Auxiliary and more.

Lieut. Jeff Horne was leading the Navy operation. He said it was great for the Navy to experience one of Canada's great rivers instead of always being out at sea.

"The Mackenzie - one of the most amazing things is the sheer size of it," he said.

"It's huge. You start at Great Slave Lake and you go hours and hours and hours every day and it just keeps going."

He echoed the sentiment about how helpful the Rangers have been.

"They know this area, they know the river and they know how to operate small boats in a different way than we do," he said.

One of Horne's favourite moments so far was playing some midnight sun baseball with community members in Tulita.

The operation was set to visit Aklavik for a few days and then go up to Tuktoyaktuk before heading back down the Mackenzie River.

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