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  • 2016
Digging deep: Marines with 2nd AA Bn. conduct avalanche training

By Cpl. Dalton Precht, 2nd Marine Division

BRIDGEPORT, Calif. -- Marines with 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, worked against the clock as they raced to save a notional avalanche victim during scenario-based training at the Mountain Warfare Training Center, Jan. 20, 2016, as part of their preparation for Exercise Cold Response 16 in March.

Cold Response 16 will feature military training including maritime, land and air operations that underscore NATO's ability to defend against any threat in any environment.

The Marines and sailors conducted multiple training events throughout the 10-day course in order to acclimatize themselves to the weather conditions they’ll face in Norway during the exercise.

Sgt. Keith Carman, a squad leader with Company A, 2nd AA Bn., led the charge as his Marines rushed to save the notional victim.

“We had two classes leading up to the actual scenario that gave us an insight to the training ahead,” said Carman.

The classes gave the Marines a chance to learn more about the gear and eventually get their hands on the equipment, according to Carmen.

Cpl. Tristan Morrison, a fire team leader with the company, joined the Marines in the search for the notional casualty. The Marines formed a probe line in which they stood side-by-side and canvassed the area of the suspected location of the casualty. The Marines probed with aluminum rods marked at every foot to indicate the depth of the snow, which also helped locate a rescue dummy.

“The Marine behind the probe line gives you the commands on where to probe and when,” said Morrison. “While he’s doing that, he’s looking at inconsistencies in the probes and the one probing is getting a feel for what the probe is hitting.”

With little experience operating in mountainous regions, Carman said his Marines performed well and he feels confident in their capabilities.

“The Marines did great,” said Carman. ”We beat our timeline to get to the landing zone and found the victim within a reasonable timeframe regardless of the outside factors affecting our movements.”

By working through scenario-based training, the Marines better prepared themselves the challenges they’ll face working alongside their NATO counterparts during the Norwegian winter.
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