The Army Mountain Warfare School

Photographs & Text by Robert Nickelsberg

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The Army Mountain Warfare School provides tactical and technical training for mountain warfare and cold weather operations. Army soldiers learn how to tie specific rope systems allowing for fast ravine crossings and medical evacuations in mountainous terrains similar to Afghanistan, basic and advanced rock climbing techniques and rifle marksmanship at long distances similar to those experienced in Iraq and Afghanistan. The course is 14 days of continuous training, with an average of 14 hours of training every day. Soldiers are selected by their respective units and the waiting list is long. The majority of the instructors are active duty members of the Vermont National Guard and have spent time in Afghanistan offering 'on the job' training in a variety of mountainous and combat situations.