Chilean Army Captain Gustavo Schwerter, commander of the 8th Mountain Detachment Tucapel’s Andean Company, traveled on March 29, 2022 to the frozen North to participate in the Basic Military Mountaineering Course in Alaska.
The U.S. Army’s Northern Warfare Training Center (NWTC) conducts the combat training course in cold mountain regions.
“The activity was developed within the framework of life, movement, and combat in arctic terrain, to obtain important knowledge for the development of instructional and training activities for mountain adept units,” the Chilean Army said.
Among the main training activities of the NWTC are basic concepts on cold weather and mountain warfare, including survival basics, construction of different types of shelters, basic individual and patrol equipment for combat, techniques for movement, and sanitary evacuation in combat during operations, among others.
Capt. Schwerter described this opportunity as stimulating, since the encounter “demonstrates that the Chilean Army’s mountain units are very well fitted in terms of equipment, hardware, mountain equipment such as skis, technical material for climbing, and moving in winter terrain.”
The NWTC trains military personnel in high-altitude environments and demanding cold climates. According to Madrid-based news site Infodefensa, military personnel learn to survive temperatures of up to 40 degrees below zero, operate in two meters of snow, and withstand winds of up to 180 kilometers per hour, making them experts in the arctic environment.
Upon his return to Chile, Capt. Schwerter took with him experiences and knowledge to share with his peers, and apply the lessons learned in the Andean companies at different levels, reinforcing the benefits of carrying exchanges with partner nations.
The Chilean Army has military units in the southern area of the Andes Mountains, where service members must train to operate in snowy and intensely cold mountainous areas.