By 2nd Lt. Jeremy Prater
3rd Platoon Leader, B Company, 1-24th Platoon
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska – Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division participated in Operation Legion Avalanche, a battalion training event focusing on developing survival skills and conducting battle drills in an arctic environment.
During this training soldiers focused on primitive methods for fire starting, building improvised arctic thermal shelters, winter travel methods, such as snowshoeing and cross country skiing, arctic marksmanship skills including firing positions, squad-level, fire-control distribution, and platoon-level battle drills.
“Our battalion used this opportunity to take advantage of Alaska’s arctic climate by conducting training. This is the first opportunity that many of our soldiers have had to conduct operations in an arctic environment,” said Staff Sgt. Trozy Darlin, platoon sergeant from 3rd Platoon, B Company, 1-24th, and Sulphur Springs, Texas, native. “It is important that the soldiers develop confidence in their equipment and the ability to thrive in a cold-weather environment. We will build on this training and continue to hone our arctic skills.”
The training that took place over the last several weeks tested soldiers’ arctic skills learned in the cold weather introduction course, which covers the fundamentals of cold-weather survival. soldiers conducted an M4 qualification range in their complete arctic uniform using both standard and arctic firing positions. Soldiers were also required to build thermal shelters and use primitive methods for starting warming fires. Fires were built using either steel wool and a nine-volt battery or flint and steel.
“It was helpful and different to train in arctic temperatures. I learned a lot of cold weather survival skills and how to shoot from arctic firing positions,” said Pvt. Joshua Eckhardt, a squad automatic weapon gunner for 3rd Platoon, B Company, 1-24th, and native of Banner, Okla. “Legion Avalanche was a great experience for newer soldiers. They were able to get familiarized with the use of weapons and equipment in cold weather environments.”