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Marines with Alpha Company, 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, conduct a patrol as part of an avalanche scenario at the Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, Calif., Jan. 20, 2016. Marines across II Marine Expeditionary Force and 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade took part in the training in preparation for Exercise Cold Response 16 in Norway this March. The exercise will feature military training including maritime, land and air operations that underscore NATO's ability to defend against any threat in any environment. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Dalton A. Precht/released)

Photo by Cpl. Dalton Precht

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

3 Feb 2016 | Cpl. Dalton Precht 2nd Marine Division

Marines and sailors from across II Marine Expeditionary Force and 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade took on the Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, Calif., as part of their preparation for Exercise Cold Response 16 in March.

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

Marines with 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion worked against the clock as they raced to save a notional avalanche victim during scenario-based training at the training center Jan. 20, 2016.

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 Cold Response.

Sgt. Keith Carman, a squad leader with Alpha Company, 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 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. He added the classes gave his Marines a chance to learn more about the gear and eventually get their hands on the equipment.

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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