U.S. Army Reserve Unit Climbs Mount Alpini Alongside Italian Soldiers
by U.S. Army Capt. Doug Magill,
7th Mission Support Command
May 16, 2019
The 2500th Digital Liaison Detachment conducted a winter training
exercise with the 6th Alpini Regiment to enhance team building, gain
expertise in winter survival, and to build interoperability with
their Italian partners, January 11-13, 2019.
The U.S. Army
Reserve detachment conducted the event ... Operation Mount Alpini
as its monthly training requirement for January 2019.
unit climbed more than 800 meters on January 12, 2019 at a distance
of five miles in just more than seven hours, reaching Rifugio peak
just outside of Wiessenbach, Italy.
Members of the 2500th Digital Liason Detachment enjoy the view from Mount Alpini's Rifugio peak near Wiessenbach, Italy on January 12, 2019 after climbing it with the 6th Alpini Regiment of the Italian army. (U.S. Army photo courtesy of 7th Mission Support Command)
“The anticipation leading up to this battle assembly was nerve
racking,” said Staff Sgt. Rachel Martinez. “I was experiencing some
stress, as I was unsure of what we would be executing. However, I
was excited and looking forward to the adventure. This pushed me
outside of my comfort zone. On arrival day we learned that we would
be snowshoeing! I was relieved as the alternate training involved
skiing. I knew snowshoeing was strenuous, but I was confident I
Twenty two Soldiers from the 2500th DLD
deployed from Longare, Italy, Friday, Jan. 11 2019 and traveled
three hours north to the 6th Alpini Regiment headquarters in Bruneck,
Italy. Once on ground, barracks rooms were assigned and the unit
received lunch at the Italian Mensa. The unit then met the 6th
Alpini team leaders and received a briefing on the regiment’s
capabilities, cold weather survival instruction, and the training
plan for the following day. The Soldiers then drew snowshoes and
equipment for the following day’s training.
The unit woke
the next morning to -7 degrees Celsius temperatures, ate breakfast
at the Italian Mensa, and received its final briefing from the 6th
Alpini team leaders. The team leaders discussed proper use of
snowshoe equipment and techniques for trekking up the mountain.
After the brief, the unit traveled 40 minutes to the Rio Bianco Base
Camp. Soldiers started their ascent to the summit at 9:30 a.m. Many
Soldiers soon realized this was not going to be an easy task.
“Climbing the mountain was intense, and definitely not the level
I would have chosen for my first snowshoe experience,” Martinez
said. “But it builds character and tested my patience, will, and
Members of the 2500th Digital Liason Detachment climb Mount Alpini's Rifugio peak near Wiessenbach, Italy on January 12, 2019 during the unit's three-day battle assembly. The unit climbed to the peak with the 6th Alpini Regiment of the Italian army. (U.S. Army photo courtesy of 7th Mission Support Command)
The unit climbed 2.6 miles and more than 2,600 feet, reaching the
peak at approximately 1:00 p.m., where it spent the next 90 minutes
outside of a small refuge taking in the view from the peak.
The unit ate MREs, changed wet socks, and dried out cold weather
gear. The 6th Alpini team leaders provided training on
avalanche rescue and building a snow shelter.
demanding seven-hour hike, there was no negative commentary, no
competitive atmosphere, no boasting,” Martinez said. “We as a unit
embraced the challenge and beat the mountain.”
of the unit said the experience made for the most physically
challenging battle assembly in memory.
assembly was the most physically challenging schedule in my 10-year
tenure with the unit,” said Staff Sgt. Ladislav Pecsuk. “As a
detachment, we demonstrated teamwork way out of our elements and
excelled expectations from many. Navigating through deep snow over
2.7 miles one way, climbing over 800 meters in altitude made us
stronger and more vigilant. Land navigation and techniques of
survival in a mountainous region really improved our cold weather
Martinez credited a pre-existing positive work
environment and strong morale to the group’s ability to meet the
challenge and said that the experience further strengthened the
morale and working relationships within the unit.
conclusion, the unit returned to the town of Bruneck and ate a South
Tyrol-inspired dinner. On the final day, the unit held a formation
and presented a gift to the battalion commander and Alpini team
leaders in appreciation of their partnership.