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Old 12-15-2020, 05:03 AM
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Arrow Army Alaska wants to recruit cold-weather lovers and have them train with Norwegians,

Army Alaska wants to recruit cold-weather lovers and have them train with Norwegians, Indians in Himalayas
By: Kyle Remper - Army Times News - 12-15-20

Photo link:
Paratroopers participate in U.S. Northern Command's Exercise Arctic Edge at the Donnelly drop zone on Fort Greely, Alaska, Feb. 29, 2020. (Staff Sgt. Diana Cossaboom/Army)

U.S. Army Alaska has struggled to be the service’s proponent for cold weather warfare amid two decades of missions that push it’s units out to far different environments, namely the Middle East, according to Army Alaska commander Maj. Gen. Peter Andrysiak.

“The Army went through a massive transformation and it went to a [brigade combat team]-centric Army to standardize the equipment and organizational structure,” Andrysiak said Friday. “And so the equipment was largely very similar across the force and we no longer had niche capabilities to operate in very unique environments.”

But that’s changing this winter, as the command purchases more skis, snowshoes and large tents to train troops on cold-weather survival as they prepare to start an annual brigade-level exercise in February called Arctic Warrior, Andrysiak told a discussion panel hosted by the Wilson Center’s Polar Institute.

Army Recruiting Command is working to find soldiers well-tuned to the Arctic environment, as well, with a new initiative that could start by grabbing volunteers from the Center for Initial Military Training.

Andrysiak’s team will also analyze Army Alaska’s mountaineering course as they prepare to train with the Indian Army in the Himalayas, a mountainous region where Indian and Chinese forces have brawled over border disputes in recent months.

Yudh Abhyas, a bi-annual exercise with Indian forces that has been regularly held at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington state over the past decade, will now be focused on Arctic warfare.

“The focus is no longer the desert, or that type of training. The focus is mountainous, cold environments,” Andrysiak said. “In 2021, we’ll host them in Alaska. In 2022, it’s supposed to be in the Himalayas.”

The revamp will help 25th Infantry Division soldiers assigned to Alaska better mesh with foreign partners in Asia — the part of the world Army Alaska’s parent organization, Indo-Pacific Command, is tasked with overseeing.

“We have to redefine our relationships so they’re not just based off airborne capabilities, but they’re based off cold-weather capabilities,” Andrysiak told the panel of experts. “Part of that is ... India, [but] we’re looking at the rest of the INDOPACOM partners.”

2nd photo link:
Students snowshoe into the mountains at the Northern Warfare Training Center’s Black Rapids Training Site Feb. 11, 2020. (John Pennell/Army)

Army Europe commander Gen. Christopher Cavoli also recently asked for Army Alaska to get out and train with European Arctic nations, like Norway, according to Andrysiak.

Norway can offer U.S. soldiers valuable lessons, Andrysiak noted, like how to operate two different fleets of equipment: one for cold, harsh winters and one for insect-heavy, but lush summers.

“That’s the only way we’re going to figure out where to go, is to learn from our partners who have been investing, living in this environment,” Andrysiak said. “So we’re going to expand that to our European partners.”

Andrysiak said his offices are working with Army Recruiting Command to source more soldiers from Alaska, Colorado and places with similar weather and terrain. They hope that those recruits will already be accustomed to the cold and its deleterious effects on batteries, energy consumption and the human body.

The recruiting effort would “streamline those that have unique skill sets” to operate in the region, said Andrysiak, adding that Recruiting Command thinks the effort is “very possible.”

In the meantime, Army Alaska wants to source more volunteers from soldiers still in training, rather than rely solely on picking soldiers at random to head to its northern outposts — a difficult duty station for soldiers who are unfamiliar with long, dark winters and short, but vibrant summers.

“How do we query [trainees], raise their hand and get them up here,” Andrysiak added. “Versus now, it’s a little bit more of a random process who winds up here.”

About this writer: About Kyle Rempfer
Kyle is a staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the U.S. Army. He served an enlistment as an Air Force Special Tactics CCT and JTAC.


Note: Found another winter link you may want to review:

Title: Marines, Sailors and Coast Guard play catch-up in Arctic warfare

Photo link:
Concerned about the Arctic as a future flashpoint, the Navy and Coast Guard are working to define their new roles there. U.S. Marines with Marine Rotational Force-Europe 19.1 fire a TOW wire-guided missile system in Setermoen, Norway, Feb. 20, 2019, one of the first times the Corps fired the missile system while in the Arctic Circle. (Cpl. Ashley McLaughlin)

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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