Military News

Monday, July 27, 2015

Black Rapids site offers unique opportunities

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 Reconnaissance
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 rescue.

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 operations.

"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- weather operations.

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 reconnaissance unit.

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.

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