Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Michael R. Noggle
10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Public Affairs Office
CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. – The Rocky Mountains saw Soldiers assigned to 3rd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), enhancing their cold weather skills and conducting mountain warfare training Jan. 6-13.
In years past, the training was conducted on an annual basis, however, due to the increased operational tempo from deployments and other training exercises, it has been difficult to get battalion training conducted as a whole.
“The last time I conducted this training was in 2006,” said Staff Sgt. Joe Shaffer, Headquarters Support Company, 3rd Bn., 10th SFG(A). “I thought back then this training was beneficial for guys in this unit, and I still feel the same today.”
The training not only included Green Berets, but the support Soldiers as well; some of whom, like Shaffer, last participated in 2006.
“I thought it was excellent to include the support personnel in the training,” Shaffer said. “There may come a time in the future when we are attached to teams in an area where we need to have these skills.”
Soldiers were assessed and organized into training groups based upon their downhill or steep terrain ability, while the battalion’s most experienced and skilled officers and noncommissioned officers served as trainers. By midweek, each group was conducting downhill, off-piste and cross-country movements; as well as avalanche awareness and recovery training.
During the avalanche training, groups learned how to search for avalanche victims using a beacon system and the detailed procedures for a recovery.
“The avalanche training and cross-country touring were very insightful,” Shaffer said. “It definitely increased my awareness so I don’t put myself or others at risk.”
The Soldiers will continue to improve on their skills as they head to Taylor Park, part of the Gunnison National Forest, to conduct more in-depth cold weather survival training during these last few weeks of January.
“I really feel this training was extremely beneficial,” Shaffer said. “The unit’s instructors did a great job refining and improving our skills on more advanced mountainous terrain.”