King Philippe was in Wevelgem and Harelbeke on Thursday, in Eastern Flanders. He was able to get a glimpse of the military exercise codenamed “Storm Tide”, which took place over 5 days in various places. The exercise ends on Friday. The monarch witnessed two demonstrations during his visit. 300 civilians and nearly 3,000 soldiers are involved in “Storm Tide”. It is a large evacuation exercise, during which soldiers from the Légère Brigade pretend to evacuate Belgian civilians from a fictional country. They used several of the various procedures for this type of operation.
For the king’s visit on Thursday, there was an assault landing by paracommandos at Wevelgem airport. It was delayed by a thick fog, which lifted and three C130 could do the aerial assault. They also pretended to “take possession” of the airport around 11am, which was delayed by half an hour.
“We were able to completely empty the planes, they were secured and we took possession of the airport”, the army said. “In the afternoon, we showed the King how we evacuate a problem region. He said he was impressed”.
The second operation was an armed evacuation in the Harelbeke sports complex.