Arctic Edge 18 is the name of a large-scale military training exercise being held in Alaska until March 23 to prepare soldiers for cold-weather fighting in northern latitudes and high elevations, Business Insider reports.
More than 1,500 members of the U.S. military were sent to Alaska for training throughout the months of February and March; tabletop exercises will continue until March 23.
“Arctic Edge is held biennially, and previous iterations focused on supporting civil authorities after a natural disaster,” BI explains. “But this year’s version focused on defending the US in the extreme weather conditions found in Arctic environments.”
Arctic Edge 18 was the first training operation of its kind since the Cold War. The soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines involved in Arctic Edge 18 are learning new skills for how to fight in harsh, cold-weather conditions and making significant progress. Watch this unique first-person point-of-view footage from inside Arctic Edge 18 to see what training looked like:
Sgt. Derick Gary told Defence Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS), “There’s a lot going on in the world and it’s not just in the desert anymore, so this is a reality check in terms of every clime and place. Marines are quick to adapt to surroundings, and training like this sets the precedents for being a force in readiness and allows us to practice what we preach.”
Exercises included everything from live-fire, survival and maneuver training, and even cooking “in severe weather and on treacherous terrain with limited visibility” because, as Gary told DVIDS, “There are a lot of challenges working in cold weather, and it can become frustrating to complete even the most simple of tasks.”
This training gave members of the U.S. military the opportunity to strengthen defense techniques and provide some reassurance for specific skill sets, operations, and use of equipment in a different kind of extreme environment they have previously trained in.