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TASK FORCE HARVEST: The Canadian Contingent

August 27, 2013

© Bill Alexander 2010

In the late summer of 2001, Canada was asked to participate in a NATO operation in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Ethnic Albanians had taken refuge in the Macedonian territory and were threatening to overthrow the Macedonian government. At the request of that small nation’s president, NATO moved to disarm the Albanians and destroy their weapons. Operation Essential Harvest was to last 30 days, commencing on August 27, 2001.
Task Force Harvest, the field component of Operation Essential Harvest, was a 4,400-strong multinational force comprising personnel from 14 nations, including Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
The Canadian contingent consisted of about 200 Canadian Forces members, as follows:
Three staff officers working at Task Force Harvest Headquarters in Skopje, Macedonia

  • A Squadron, The Royal Canadian Dragoons, a 145-strong armoured reconnaissance squadron based at Petawawa, Ontario and re-assigned from Operation Palladium in Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • A National Command Element of about 45 personnel from the Canadian Forces Joint Operations Group in Kingston, Ontario
  • A National Support Element of about 10 personnel from units in Canada and Bosnia.

The RCD’s deployed to a camp west of Skopje Macedonia. The Dragoons, using Coyote reconnaissance vehicles, carried out observation, scouted routes and escorted convoys. They set up camp on August 31, and were ready to carry out their first mission, a convoy escort, on September 2. At the end of September, when the NATO monitoring operation began, the Dragoons returned to Bosnia and their duties as part of Operation Palladium. The Canadian contribution to the mission finally closed with the return of the last staff officer from Skopje at the end of September, 2002. Members of the Canadian contingent to FYROM wore combat uniforms with the appropriate combat insignia, depending on their regimental affiliation. These included the Canadian flag (some images show it in red and white colour rather than subdued) an RCD and NCE combat titles.
In addition to combat insignia, a brassard sporting a white triangle with the abbreviation TFH in white letters was worn on the arm of the combat uniform. The short duration of the operation and relatively small size of the contingent required a limited number of brassards, and these are seldom seen. The example pictured is screen printed on a Canadian issue armlet. Other national elements produced patches or armlets for their contingents.


From → Cloth insignia

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