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Winter Operations


Special Forces Winter Warfare Training

 

Special Forces detachments are trained to operate in diverse environmental conditions - desert, jungle, mountain, and other types of terrain and climate. Some of the harshest environments can be found in the arctic and mountaineous areas of the world.

There are a number of schools and courses that prepare SFODAs for operations in mountaineous and winter conditions. Some train DoD members from all branches while others are organic to the Special Forces groups (especially 10th SFG).

10th Special Forces Group has traditionally conducted training in moutainous and cold weather conditions. Through the 1950s to the early 1990s this training was conducted at Fort Devens, MA, Fort Drum, NY, in the mountains of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, and in the mountainous and cold weather regions of Europe. After 10th SFG moved to Fort Carson, Colorado in the mid-1990s it continued winter warfare training in Colorado, Alaska, and other western states.

Older Special Forces veterans who served with 10th Special Forces Group most likely have fond memories of Mickey Mouse boots, White Star skiis, and arkeo sleds.


Top Photo: Green Berets with 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) practice self-recovery from a glacial crevasse during Valor United 20, an arctic warfare training exercise in Seward, Alaska. During the September 2020 exercise, Special Forces soldiers developed their patrolling and survival skills in some of the most unforgiving terrain in the U.S. Key focus areas for the training were arctic, alpine and glacier movement, crevasse rescue, and long-range high-frequency communications. In addition to training, the 1st SFG (A) team assisted 212th Rescue Squadron with wilderness search and rescue operations. Photo by Sgt. Kayla Hocker, 1st Special Forces Group, 15 Oct 2020.

References:

Thesis, Winter is Coming: Ensuring U.S. Special Forces Are Prepared to Fight and Win in a Cold Weather Environment, by Andrew M. Wade, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, December 2018, PDF, 61 pages.
https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/1069770.pdf

ATP 3-90.97, Mountain Warfare and Cold Weather Operations, Department of the Army, Apri 2016.
https://fas.org/irp/doddir/army/atp3-90-97.pdf

Special Report 93-12, On Winter Warfare, by George K. Swinzow, US Army Corps of Engineers, June 1992. Posted on DTIC.mil. A history of winter warfare through the ages.
https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a270031.pdf

Study No. 23, Training for Mountain and Winter Warfare, Headquarters Army Ground Forces, 1946.
https://history.army.mil/books/agf/agf23.htm

 

 

 

 

 


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