BRIDGEPORT, Calif. -- BRIDGEPORT, Calif. -- Task Force Arctic Edge Marines battled blistering winds and bone-chilling cold weather as they traverse the snow-covered Sierra Nevada Mountains of Bridgeport, Calif., January 23-29, 2018.
The cold weather environment paired with mountainous terrain affects the way Marines conduct tasks, techniques and procedures. The training provided Marines the ability to adapt to operations in an environment that is both physically and mentally demanding.
“So much of being up here is mental,” said Cpl. Kyle Sherwood, an electronics maintenance Marine with CLR-25. “As long as you are well prepared, your body should be fine, but you need to stay mentally tough.”
Marines that participated in the cold weather exercise spent three days at lower base camp receiving classes in preparation for their trek up the mountain pass. They then put what they learned to the test by summiting, surviving and living atop the mountain.
Aside from learning basic survivability, such as boiling snow to decontaminate and replenish water reserves, Marines were taught how to properly keep warm, maneuver with snowshoes or skis, construct tents to live in and maintain weapon systems in a cold weather environment.
“Training like this is great,” said 1st Sgt. Sergio Barrios, the company first sergeant for CLR-25. “Marines could get PowerPoint classes on how to survive, but nothing compares to being out here experiencing firsthand what it’s like in a real world environment.”
An instructor with MCMWTC, explains that Mother Nature throws a lot at the Marines. He said this specific training area can receive lows of sub-zero degrees, winds up to 100mph and snowfall in excess of 5 feet.
“It is extremely important to stay motivated because if you don’t this weather will get the best of you,” said Barrios. “The Marines have done a great job of motivating each other to push through this training and keeping in mind that they are all in this together.”
Completing their preparatory training package at MCMWTC provides Marines the necessary training for cold weather and mountainous environments, in keeping with the adage of any clime and place. The training also properly prepares Marines for Exercise Arctic Edge 18, where Marines will further hone weapons and combat operations capabilities in the extreme environment of northern Alaska.