US Army Alaska drops into cold weather training

Published: Feb. 9, 2021 at 4:12 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - With temperatures hovering around -20°F, around 150 soldiers from 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, “Spartan Brigade,” boarded C-130s and C-17s to prepare for a jump into the subzero air.

The paratrooper mission was part of the larger Arctic Warrior 21, a cold weather training exercise that US Army Alaska conducts each year. “We do these types of missions to ensure that our equipment is properly maintained. Especially for these types of things we do every year, annually, we have to ensure that we have proper training, proper equipment, and our soldiers are well prepared for these types of environments,” said Information Technology Specialist, SPC Andrew Allan.

The soldiers falling from the sky weren’t able to do the mission alone. On the ground were medics as well as other soldiers who helped organize the jump and ensure its success. A recon team also simulated scouting out the area beforehand and made sure that it was safe for the paratroopers to land.

Allen Mortensen is the Command Sergeant Major of the 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Airborne and participated in the jump. “Right now we just jumped out of an airplane for a joint forcible entry operation rehearsal into the arctic,” Mortensen said.

While the goal of the mission is to train in cold weather, if the temperatures drop too far below zero, the jumps can be halted due to safety concerns. Because the aircraft are flying at around 140 miles per hour when the soldiers jump, any exposed skin can get contact frostbite instantly.

After soldiers made it safely back to earth, they began packing their gear up as they prepared for the next steps of the exercise.

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