The NATO Mountain Warfare Centre of Excellence (NATO MW COE) conducted the Military Mountaineering Collaborative Training between 7 May and 15 May 2018. The event took place in Poljče and its surrounding training area. The training audience involved members of the US Army, 173rd Airborne Infantry Brigade. The training was performed by the Education and Training Branch.
The aim of the activity was to test the technical and tactical part of the MW Small Unit Leadership Course and exchange of mountain warfare knowledge and experience.
How was your perception of the collaborative training?
CPL C. Jones: “Collaborative training events are a key enabler to strong allied relationships. This course was organized in a way that gave the technical skills as a theory, then directly applied them.”
SPC A. Ahmann: “This collaborative training was extremely beneficial. Being able to work with and learn from the cadre who have vast amounts of knowledge and experience will no doubt benefit us in the future. I think we expected more patrolling based lessons, however, the technical skills taught to us, in my opinion, has been more beneficial.”
Which exercise / activity was the most challenging in your opinion?
CPL C. Jones: “The final climb over-looking Lake Bohinj provided a good challenge to the men, and also tied in all the techniques we learned into one exercise.”
SPC A. Ahmann: “The Via Ferrata at the Bohinj Lake was the most challenging and also the most realistic. It was both, strenuous and a new route, allowing us to learn techniques in passing through untouched terrain.”
Did you learn any new skills or techniques?
CPL C. Jones: “It’s always a pleasure to see different ways of doing things. There are multiple techniques for each task performed in the mountains; the self-tensioning rope bridge was a first for me.”
SPC A. Ahmann: “Personally, most of the skills and techniques were new to me. Learning how to ascend with the equipment provided was very beneficial, as well as different techniques in rappelling and crossing obstacles. The cadre provided / taught realistic techniques that are extremely useful in combat environments.”
CPL C. Jones: “The highlight of this course were the instructors. It became immediately apparent that your cadre are the subject matter experts in military mountaineering. The wealth of knowledge they have to provide is truly the backbone of the curriculum.”
SPC A. Ahmann: “The instructors did a very good job at adapting the training to our needs as well as giving the instruction that we can all take with us. No matter what our specific job is. Slovenia is beautiful and I am happy I had the opportunity to participate in this training.”
SSG M. Rakar, Education and Training Branch instructor perceived the collaborative training as adapted to the trainees’ capabilities. Due to their high motivation, the tasks were performed professionally and progress was noted in a very short time. Most of the trainees did not have specific mountaineering pre-knowledge and experience, but by the end of the training, the level of learned skills visibly increased. SFC Rakar stated that such training always sets added value to the NATO MW COE as well as the experience and knowledge of its staff members.
The collaborative training was successfully brought to an end, and all the participants expressed their contentment about the level of knowledge they had received. Exchanging the knowledge has always been a great opportunity for collaboration.