Story by Travis Fontane.
The Special Operations Mountain Warfare Training Center on Fort Carson held a field training exercise as the culminating event for the Special Operations Winter Mountain Operator Course (SOWMOC) in Gunnison, Colorado, March 14-16, 2022.
Before graduating the Winter Mountain Course, service members jumped from a CH-47 Chinook Helicopter onto a frozen lake, then moved to their objective area where they observed and reported on enemy activity within the target zone. Those who complete the training are taught a variety of tactics and techniques such as how to endure, tactically move and properly use gear and techniques in austere environments.
The Special Operations Winter Mountain Operator Course is taught twice a year and takes place over months of training. The course consists of Special Operations Service Members from all military branches. Some of the students and cadre who attended are from 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne).
“A graduate of the Winter Mountain Operator Course has a lot of capability,” said the lead cadre from SOWMOC. “That service member can now go lead, advise and teach either members from their detachment or partner nations.”
The course’s concentration on mountain and winter environments are the perfect transition from desert terrain, explained the lead instructor. He also described the intent of the training and the conditions in which the course takes place are designed to challenge individuals: physically and mentally.
“We have realistic and extremely rigorous points of interest,” said the lead cadre. “This is probably one of the most physically demanding courses in the regiment, with many of the students losing weight during the training because it takes place at high altitude and during severe weather.”
The students not only learn how to tackle altitude and frigid temperatures, but to adapt and adjust to the environment. The circumstances may require utilizing skis, snowshoes and mechanized vehicles or relying on rudimentary methods like map reading and compass navigations. These teachings enable graduates of the SOWMOC to explore terrain thought to be tactically inaccessible.
“Graduates of the Winter Mountain Operator Course don’t just survive, they thrive in extreme conditions,” said the lead cadre. “They take away a vast amount of technical and experiential knowledge to be a force multiplier, leader and teacher.”
This story by Staff Sgt. Travis Fontane was originally published on March 14, 2022 by the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service. DVIDS content is in the public domain.
Photo: Green Berets with 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) pull security and pack airdropped equipment during a final field training exercise held in Gunnison, Colorado, March 14-16, 2022. The exercise was held as part of a Special Operations Winter Mountain Operator Course, which included Special Forces Service Members from all military branches. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Travis Fontane)
The 10th Special Forces Group is based at Fort Carson, Colorado with one battalion forward deployed in Europe. The 10th SFG(A)’s area of responsibility is Europe.