Minnesota National Guard aims for versatile force structure
CAMP RIPLEY — Soldiers of the Sniper Section, 2nd Combined Arms Battalion–136th Infantry, took part in winter warfare training during the January drill weekend of Jan 4-5.
“Traditionally, we do most of our training in the summer months to best meet our requirements with minimal risk,” said Staff Sgt. Stout, sniper section leader.
During the early 1960s, winter warfare training became doctrine as defense. In 1964, the 2nd Battalion, 136th Infantry, undertook its annual field training at Camp Ripley in February, a “first” for the Minnesota National Guard and for Camp Ripley.
Winter training for other battalion sized units continued as Camp Ripley’s Winter Warfare Course grew into one of the largest cold weather training programs in the Army. This increase in multi-seasonal training events led to the establishment of instructor-run winter training courses and the reconstruction of Camp Ripley as a year-round training facility.
“Identifying the differences in conducting operations in various climates and conditions is necessary to the easy transition from one mission to the next,” said Capt. Peter Rampaart, Battalion Training Officer for 2-136.
“As the versatility of our force grows we are able to meet the demands of any mission, anywhere in the world,” continued Rampaart.
The sniper section from 2-136 organized training based on normal weapon range operations and added the conditions of cold weather, high winds and snow to allow soldiers to better understand the challenging circumstances incurred during winter months.
“There is a lot to expect with this task — slower powder burn, cold weapons and atmospheric changes as well as how your body reacts to the cold,” said Sgt. Kyle Nohre, sniper team leader. “We carry over 100 pounds of equipment and weapons while moving into position, all on an unstable platform while trying to stay warm,” added Nohre.
Today, winter skills training comes from the experiences of soldiers returning from deployments. The lessons learned from challenging weather conditions during year long operations have been essential to the success of the overall mission.