Marines Battle Cold Conditions In Mountain Exercise
by U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Dallas Johnson
July 9, 2019
As bone-chilling winds tore through California’s Sierra Nevada
mountains, Marines with 1st and 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment,
2nd Marine Division, participated in Mountain Exercise 2-19, at
Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, California
during February and March 2019.
Established in 1951 as the Cold
Weather Battalion, MWTC is one of the Corps’ most remote and
isolated posts that provide cold-weather training for personnel who
are bound for deployments and further training around the world.
With its base camp nestled at 6,700 feet above sea level, and
training areas rising above 11,000 feet, MWTC is the premier
location for this specialized training.
offers is, fundamentally, wet, cold conditions that range from 35-10
degrees, and this creates a lot of challenges,” said U.S. Marine
Corps Col. Kevin Hutchison, commander, MWTC. “Nowhere else does any
training area offer altitude, compartmentalized terrain, snow and
March 22, 2019 - U.S Marines with
1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division,
construct a shelter during Mountain Training Exercise (MTX)
2-19, at Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center,
Bridgeport, California. The purpose of MTX is to prepare
Marines for harsh weather conditions while enhancing winter
warfare skills in cold weather environments. (U.S. Marine
Corps photo by Pfc. Christy Yost)
Both battalions, who are stationed at
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., received a 12-day crash course
on acclimatization, lessons on moving in the snow, and keeping warm.
They put what they learned to the test by summiting and
surviving atop the 12,000-foot mountain.
The units focused on
three mission essential tasks: survival, mobility and combat. During
the physically demanding exercise each Marine’s issued main-pack
weighed up to 103 pounds.
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Graham Blunt
said training in such an unfamiliar environment, altitude,
temperature and mountainous terrain brought its fair share of
challenges to the units, which normally train in humid, flat terrain
on N.C.’s coast.
“We’re all east-coast Marines,” said Blunt,
a squad leader with Company C, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment,
2nd Marine Division. “Being out here puts us out of our element,
only in great ways.”
We’re learning the basics all over
again, but this time in a mountainous environment, he said. “Right
now, we’re at 8,500 feet. Other platoons, like our snipers, have
gone significantly higher.”
March 24, 2019 - U.S Marines with
Company G, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine
Division, communicate with each other using hand and arm
signals during Mountain Training Exercise (MTX) 1-19, at
Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport,
California. Marines participated in MTX to test their
resiliency, proficiency, and endurance with the snowy
mountainous terrain. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc.
Hutchison said this type of
cold-weather package is an invaluable lesson for the Marines.
“On the most basic level, the Marines are hardened to a degree
that they’ve never been hardened before,” Hutchison said. “When you
look at the Marines and talk to them after the exercise, you see
confidence, a confidence in their ability to overcome any type of
environmental or physical challenge.”
“This is a place that
makes Marines strong,” Hutchison said.
As winter ends, the
training center is scheduled to host future training like Mountain
Leaders Course, Mountain Scout Snipers Course and Assault Climbers
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