Story by Spc. Kimberly Gonzalez, 10th SFG(A).
10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Green Berets and enablers conducted cold weather training (CWT) from Feb. 5th to the 10th, in Montana.
“This training exercise is split up into two phases, the first three weeks is us getting comfortable in a cold weather environment,” said a team sergeant with 10th SFG (A). “The phase we are in right now is the winter warfare course (WWC) which focuses on tactical movement using snowmobile and skis.”
Montana has over 147,000 square miles that provides an extreme cold weather environment and land to conduct training. Some of the training exercises conducted during this time were avalanche rescue exercises, snowmobile maneuvers and ambush drills. Inclement weather was also a natural obstacle, which Soldiers needed to be prepared for while operating in austere conditions.
During the training, the Green Berets worked with other allied countries’ special forces and shared different ideas and tactics to become a more efficient and lethal force. Being in the mountains during the winter can cause different types of challenges a Soldier may not usually face.
Without warning, an avalanche can happen; knowing how to avoid or rescue someone safely is essential. Our Green Berets learned how to use a beacon to find someone under the snow. They practiced different techniques to shovel snow that requires the least amount of energy and time.
“This gives us an opportunity to shake up our techniques, figure out what’s good, what’s bad and then make corrections in a safe environment to make ourselves better prepared for the future,” said the team sergeant.
While conducting operations in a cold weather environment, moving through deep snow can be difficult. To maneuver through this obstacle the Soldiers needed to be able to operate a snowmobile. They learned how to get a snowmobile out of the snow if it were to get stuck in soft areas. Soldiers also were able to get hands on experience with all the functions and maintenance required for them. Getting acquainted with new equipment helps Soldiers be more confident in performing their tasks.
“We spent the last 20 years focusing on Iraq and Afghanistan which is the exact opposite of wintry snow conditions,” said the team sergeant. “Getting our Soldiers out here and used to living and working in the cold is probably the biggest challenge for everyone.”
After getting comfortable with maneuver and rescue techniques, the Green Berets conducted range operations, which are slightly different from controlled ranges due to equipment they usually do not wear. They practiced adjusting themselves on skis and using ski poles to stabilize their weapons as they performed various combat drills such as react to contact and react to ambush.
“These training exercises enable our teams to rehearse extended long-range patrols in the Arctic and spend weeks in extreme cold weather climates,” said a Detachment Commander with 10th SFG (A). “Focusing on maintaining Arctic dominance in, not only in the U.S., but with our partners in the North shows that we have a strong multinational presence.”
Photo: A 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Green Beret practices snowmobile maneuvers during cold weather training at Montana on Feb. 6, 2023. These exercises are designed to properly and safely maneuver snowmobiles in dangerous areas. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Kimberly Gonzalez)
This story by Spc. Kimberly Gonzalez was first published on February 27, 2023 by the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service. DVIDS content is in the public domain.