Annual Technical Inspection (ATI) of CFS Alert
By Cpl SJ King and Sgt PP Gingras. June 2018
It has been 10 years since the Military Maintenance Rotation tour occurred in CFS Alert. CFB Trenton has been supporting CFS Alert every year by sending military and civilian technicians to complete regular Annual Technical Inspections (ATI) and vehicle repairs to improve the serviceability of their fleets.
On May 22, 2018, Capt Gilbert, Sgt Gingras, Cpl Sine, Cpl Faubert and Cpl King were sent to CFS Alert to complete an ATI on the Station’s vehicles and equipment that were used on a regular basis. We as a team left CFB Trenton and flew to Thule, Greenland, where we stayed overnight. We continued to our destination, arriving at CFS Alert the following morning. Upon arrival, we were greeted by all of the Station’s personnel where we enjoyed a meet and greet coffee session.
CFS Alert, being the unique place that it is, requires a variety of vehicles for its fleet to maintain operations on a daily basis. This includes De-Icers trucks, Dump Trucks with Snow Plows, Ford F-350s, Compact Rollers, BV 206s, Fire Trucks, Graders, Flight Line Buses, Sellick mules, Polaris Ranger 4×4, Loaders, Larue Blower attachments, Backhoes, John Deere Gators, Forklifts and Desjardins Fuel Trailer to name a few. All which are used for the better part on the year.
The relationship between the DND and civilian employees at the Station is quite bonded. Due to the fact that they have limited access to the rest of the world, everyone gets along well with one another, and they all work towards the same goal to keep the Station operational. From the power plant staff keeping up with Station power requirements to the supply staff balancing the Station’s operational and personnel needs, everyone works together to promote a safe and healthy work environment.
During the first week there, we inspected about 40% of their vehicles while assisting with repairs and defects, as the vehicles are a big part in the functionality of daily operations. Within the first few days, we realized that the days revolved around breakfast, lunch and supper, because there is nowhere else to eat aside from the few snacks in the common areas.
Upon second week, we started assessing the parts section that they had in place. We sorted through their catalogue of parts and packed up any that were not required to be returned to Trenton. The team assessed their Tool Crib and augmented it with more resources to do their daily jobs. We also reviewed the administration process on DRMIS and the running repairs that had been completed.
The Wildlife in Alert consisted of a lot more than most people seem to realize. We had a chance to visit the wildlife laboratory where the students and staff were preforming projects that helped them understand migration patterns of the birds within the area of Alert. Did you know that there are birds that live in Africa in the winters and migrate to Alert in the summers just to stay in the same relative climate? We also witnessed two wolves (Spooky & Lulu) that liked to be around the quarry especially after the burner is lit. We watched two Artic Hares practice evasive maneuvers to avoid the hungry wolves. We never had the opportunity to see a Polar Bear but we did find signs of their tracks.
We had a few days of down time which gave us opportunities to go and explore different sites around the area using the BV 206s. The first weekend there, we explored Crystal Mountain for a day to excavate some crystals, hence the name. The next weekend, we took a day to go fishing and caught a few fish, which was rare because we had been told not many fish had been caught in a good while. We got the chance to go to the quarry and find iron pyrite which is known as fool’s gold. The team went on a Geocache exploration trip looking for markers using a GPS which had been put there by previous personnel.
Our visit to CFS Alert and Fort Eureka was very memorable, especially for those personnel that have never had the chance to go before. Being only 750 kms from the Arctic Pole is awe inspiring. As we celebrate our 75th Anniversary, I am happy to hear that CFS Alert will be included in our history.
To the men and women who bravely serves in Alert:
ARTE ET MARTE