Vermont National Guard Logo News
News | Feb. 20, 2021

Mountain Legacy 21 - 10th Mountain Division Soldiers undergo specialized training in extreme winter environment

By Josh Cohen 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain)

An introduction to unique winter skill sets was provided to soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division from 18-20 Feb. at the Vermont Army National Guard Mountain Warfare School in Jericho, Vt.  

Experts from the VTARNG 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain) guided squads through exercises specific to operations in a mountainous winter environment.  

Soldiers rotated through three training areas including mountain cold weather casualty evacuation, avalanche beacon location, technical ice climbing, and ice rappelling. All skills were taught to Soldiers on an individual basis. Experts also provided training for movement in extreme mountain winter conditions. 

According to the Commanding Officer of 10th Mountain Division’s 1st Battalion, 1-87 Infantry,  Lt. Col. Joel Kassulke, the specialized training is appreciated, “it is a good time for us, this is different, we operate in mountainous terrain, however it is not like this,” he said.  

The training 10th Mountain Division Soldiers receive, such as ice repelling with crampons and ascending vertical ice, “serves to build on existing mountain skills troops already possess,” according to  Master Sgt. Bert Severin, a subject matter expert with the 86th IBCT (MTN).  During the evolution, Severin provided instruction at the school’s ice wall climbing and rappelling facility. The 86th IBCT (MTN) is the only conventional mountain unit in the U.S. Army. 

Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew Bonney noted, “the event expands our craft, it is extreme and focused training in a unique environment.” 

Fostering an esprit de corps within the 10th Mountain Division, the Mountain Legacy program is designed to increase support in areas historically relevant to the division. Each year squad-sized teams compete for the opportunity in the division’s annual D-Series competition.  Bonney said this year approximately 100 Soldiers ran a nine-mile course with integrated weapon drills. The three top-scoring squads earn the right to participate in Mountain Legacy.  

The 10th Mountain Division’s D-Series commemorates a 1944 winter training march in the mountains of Colorado. During the exercise, twelve thousand 10th Mountain Division Soldiers with full pack, skis, and snowshoes reached an altitude of over 13,000 feet while navigating deep snow in below zero temperatures. Mountain Legacy alternates yearly between Vermont and Colorado.  

National Guard News
An airborne 210th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk conducts rescue operations March 5, 2022, at the Lake Iliamna crash site of a Cessna 206. The scope of the rescue effort was illustrated by an Alaska State Trooper R-44 helicopter.
Alaska National Guard rescues five people in three missions
By David Bedard, | Aug. 17, 2022
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Alaska Air National Guardsmen of the 176th Wing rescued five people from three separate incidents Aug. 11 and 12 at different locations throughout Southcentral and Interior Alaska.For...

Utah National Guard service members with the Region VIII Homeland Response Force, in cooperation with Utah Task Force 1, conduct search-and-extraction training on the new Collapsed Structure Venue Site during a readiness evaluation exercise at Camp Williams, Utah, August 3-7, 2022.
Utah National Guard Displays Readiness During Exercise
By Staff Sgt. Jordan Hack, | Aug. 16, 2022
CAMP WILLIAMS, Utah – Service members with the Utah National Guard’s Region VIII Homeland Response Force displayed efficiency and effectiveness during a readiness validation exercise Aug. 3-7. During the exercise, they...

Maj. Joel Johnson, Bilateral Affairs Officer in the Kingdom of Thailand talks with one of his Royal Thai Army counterparts during a State Partnership Program Exchange on July 31, 2022. Johnson serves as the Bilateral Affairs Officer for the Washington National Guard and the Kingdom of Thailand, supporting the National Guard state Partnership Program.
Wash. Guardsman Helps Strengthen Partnership with Kingdom of Thailand
By Joseph Siemandel, | Aug. 16, 2022
CAMP MURRAY, Wash. – A Washington National Guard Soldier responsible for building international partnerships credits a chance meeting for his current role.  “It was fantastic to have had those introductions,” said Maj. Joel...

The 55th Civil Support Team partnered with Mdewakanton Fire and Public Safety, FBI Minneapolis Hazard Evidence Response Team, and Minnesota State Fire Marshall for a field training exercise near Shakopee, Minnesota, August 3, 2022.
Minnesota National Guard trains with interagency partners
By Staff Sgt. Mahsima Alkamooneh, | Aug. 16, 2022
SHAKOPEE, Minn. — The Minnesota National Guard's St. Paul-based 55th Civil Support Team partnered with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Department of Public Safety, the FBI's Minneapolis Hazardous Evidence Response...

Pfc. Tristian Hines of Somerset, Ky., poses for a photo after his First formation, where he met his unit July, 21, 2022. Hines arrived at his unit Ranger and Airborne qualified thanks to the Ranger Training Leadership Initiative (RTLI) program, a program only National Guard Soldiers qualify for. He was the first Kentucky Guardsman to complete the process successfully.
Kentucky National Guard Soldier Perseveres to Become a First
By Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Crane, | Aug. 15, 2022
FRANKFORT, Ky  –  It is a rare occasion when a new Soldier, fresh from basic training, shows up to his unit Ranger and Airborne qualified. It is so rare; it has never before been done in the Kentucky National Guard.But for...