CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- More than 900 Canadian soldiers from Petawawa, Ontario, are currently participating with Marines and Sailors in the NATO Exercise Unified Spirit 2000 here until Oct. 30.The exercise provides 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment Battalion Group an environment to practice amphibious landings utilizing a variety of the Corp's landing crafts."This will give us an opportunity to do something different and new to us," said Lt.Col. Bruce Pennington, commanding officer for the soldiers. "It will enable us to practice being delivered to the battle zone in a new way."The soldiers just completed the company-training phase, which involved Amphibious Assault Vehicles, day and night patrolling and helicopter operations, according to Capt. Guy Turpin, the public affairs officer for 1st RCR Bn. Gp. "In Canada, we do not have any AAVs," the Gatineau, Province of Quebec native said. "So we train with zodiacs."The Canadians also get a chance to train at the Military Operations in Urban Terrain facility here."We do conduct MOUT training, but not at this level," he said. "We only have five to seven buildings at most, but here there is so much more."Land navigation is harder here because there are fewer terrain features. In Canada, it is so hilly and here it is flat, according to Turpin. "The Marines have provided excellent support," said Pennigton. "They are very knowledgeable in their fields and big on safety, like in Canada. Things are running smoothly so far."The soldiers trained at the battalion level Oct. 18 and 19. Once again they conducted- MOUT, AAV and patrolling exercises. The following four days they conducted an amphibious exercise where they learned ship life and practiced beach operations. They were under the operational control of the Nasa Amphibious Readiness Group, said Turpin.All of this training is gearing the soldiers for the Joint Task Force Exercise 01-1. The Canadians are not the only NATO nation scheduled to participate in the JTFEX. Germany, France, Denmark and the United Kingdom will also join the U.S."This will confirm that Canadian troops can work in a joint and combined operations," said Pennigton. The soldiers are not just getting infantry training, he said. The medics are receiving mass casualty training, and others are getting prisoner of war training on the battle scene. Our support units are also here to include our cooks, military police, drivers, mechanics and postal services. "We like to work with other countries on operations," said Pennington. "This exercise gives us the opportunity to work with others and to work out the bugs.""The value of bilateral training is worth its weight in gold," he said.