By Staff Sgt. Sean Callahan
USARAK Public Affairs
7/27/2015 - BLACK RAPIDS TRAINING SITE, Alaska -- From
the snow-kissed mountains to the icy rumblings of melting glaciers,
Marines from 2nd Platoon, Force Reconnaissance Company, 1st
Battalion, Camp Pendleton, California, along with instructors from U.S.
Army Alaska's Northern Warfare Training Center conducted military alpine
operations at Black Rapids Training Site and Gulkana Glacier.
NWTC's remote BRTS offers a wide variety of challenging terrain.
Instructors provide training on navigating vertical icy terrain, various
forms of rappelling, casualty evacuation, glacial travel and crevasse
NWTC'S mission is to provide cold regions and mountain warfare training
to the U.S. military and designated personnel to enhance warfighting
capabilities of the U.S. and coalition partners.
The center is also the Army's cold-region training proponent.
As such, NWTC instructors are versed in all things high-altitude, mountainous and subarctic.
The instructors spend months preparing lesson plans and maintaining their high level of training to pass on.
Challenging terrain and deep blue glaciers aren't the only things which bring these highly-skilled recon Marines to Alaska.
"Our philosophy is we need to be able to do deep reconnaissance in any
clime and place," said Marine Capt. Trevor Miller, commander of the
platoon. "The training center here in Alaska presents a unique
opportunity to train in the mountains, and especially in mountains that
have glacial features."
NWTC routinely conducts joint training operations with various Department of Defense agencies and government organizations.
The instructors are experts in their craft and offer both summer and
winter courses designed to enable units to achieve fundamental skills in
high-altitude mountain warfare training as well as cold weather
"As the entire Department of Defense goes to a more joint outlook and
joint operations, it's very helpful for us to train with the Army,"
Miller said. "The Army sometimes has different ideas than the Marine
Corps and will only help us expand and grow as an organization."
The unique location of the Black Rapids Training Site allows these
organizations to conduct strenuous and realistic training, focusing on
military mountaineering, over-snow mobility, and other types of cold-
Miller said the cadre at NWTC have been very accommodating. The
instructors opened their training catalogs and allowed the Marines to
pick and choose training directly related to the unique mission sets of a
NWTC also offers standardized courses, like any other school house, but
it's the flexibility and tailor-made training curriculum which sets it
apart from other military schools. This is extremely important when
students from other services, countries, and state and federal agencies
come to Black Rapids to conduct training.