Cold Regions and Military Mountaineering Collaborative Training

Cold Regions and Military Mountaineering Collaborative Training

Cold Regions and Military Mountaineering Collaborative Training Symposium, hosted by U.S. Army Alaska, was held in Black Rapids Training Site near Fort Greely from 21 to 24 March 2016. The training site is part of the Northern Warfare Training Centre. Held for the first time last winter, the training brought together partner nations with a stake in cold and mountainous regions, which this year included Nepal, Chile, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Great Britain, Canada and Finland. American participants included representatives from the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Centre, the 5th Ranger Training Battalion the 10th Mountain Division, the 1st Special Forces Group Advanced Skills Company, the 10th Special Forces Group and the Alaska National Guard. They’re responsible for shaping the cold-region and mountaineering protocols in their respective countries or units.

Lessons Learned staff officer MAJ Igor Brinar and COL Alberto Zamboni, deputy director, represented the NATO Mountain Warfare Centre of Excellence from Slovenia. COL Zamboni said there are two enemies: the environment and the opponent. “As a military, we do not want to fight two enemies at the same time,” he said. “So we have to find out all the solutions, all the details, all the tricks that allow us to use the environment as a friend, not as an enemy. That takes a lot of knowledge, a lot of experience. It’s a long, long process. Each country faces different challenges, but bringing together all the lessons learned could be the difference between life and death,” COL Zamboni said. “Even something as simple as what type of gloves or boots a soldier chooses to wear makes a difference”, he said. “We don’t want our soldiers to be in trouble. The opponent should be enough to deal with. The environment should be your friend,” he concluded.

Preparing troops for high-altitudes and cold weather, however, isn’t always about combat.

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