Every clime and place: Marines train for cold-weather operations
By Lance Cpl. Sullivan Laramie
| 2nd Marine Logistics Group | January 31, 2014
Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, Calif. --
Marines are trained with the intent to be the best in any situation and environment, whether in the desert heat or the frozen north.
With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Marine Corps has been focused primarily on the Middle East. The Marines are looking to expand their combat capabilities by training for arctic and mountainous areas.
Two hundred twenty-eight Marines and sailors with Ragnarok Company, 2nd Supply Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group conducted cold-weather mobility training aboard the Mountain Warfare Training Center here, Jan. 14 to 28, in preparation for the upcoming NATO exercise Cold Response in March 2014. Ragnarok Company is a composite unit composed of Marines from 2nd Supply Battalion and other units within 2nd MLG.
The service members began their training with several short hikes while carrying light day packs. They also received classes on survival techniques and mountain hazards.
“This is stuff we haven’t been doing in a while,” said Brig. Gen. Edward D. Banta, the commanding general of 2nd MLG. “We’re getting back to the support competencies in the Marine Corps that we’ve lost in the last 10 to 12 years. That’s the ability to go just about any place in the world and operate in environments like this and have the skill sets we need to be successful.”
On Jan. 18, the company began a 10-day operation, which required the Marines and sailors to travel longer distances, carrying heavier packs and rifles for three days over rough terrain, and undergo the same training as 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division.
Several female Marines recently completed training in the Infantry Training Battalion and the assault climber’s course. Here, they once again participated in and completed a course usually conducted by combat arms Marines.
“You don’t get [strong] doing soft stuff,” 1st Lt. Robert E. Dzvonick, a Pittsburgh, Penn., native and company executive officer, told the company after completing the hikes. “Those three days should give you confidence. We made it up here and we won, but we still have things to do.”
The service members learned how to travel across snow-covered terrain with snowshoes, military skis and knowledge of cold weather navigation techniques to move equipment and manpower faster and easier than walking through snow would allow.
These skills are not only invaluable for training during Cold Response, but any future operations in cold weather.
“This is how we start the next wave,” said Dzvonick. “If we get well at operating in this kind of environment, we can operate anywhere.”
Ragnarok Co. is scheduled to continue training for Cold Response before leaving for Norway in support of 2nd Bn., 2nd Marines and to work alongside allied nations.
The unit’s command hopes the company’s participation in the exercise will open up more opportunities for future generations of Marines.
“At this point, 2nd MLG is getting its money’s worth,” said Dzvonick to the company. “As a whole, as a Marine Corps, we’ll continue to get this training and we’ll be better. Keep your heads up and keep working hard.”