Photo credit: U.S. Army by Sgt. Matthew Moeller
Mountain Warfare School is a two-week course taught by the Vermont National Guard at Ethan Allen Firing Range in Jericho, Vermont. Both a summer and a winter phase are offered. The training is designed to make you an expert in mountain operations. The course covers rappelling, rock climbing, mountain survival, land navigation, first aid, and knots.
Mountain Warfare School is both physically and mentally demanding. Soldiers climb up and rappel down mountains, tie rope systems to make bridges, navigate the land by day and night, and learn how to care for and evacuate casualties. Training is non-stop, 15 hours per day, for 14 days. If you can carry a 65-pound rucksack up to five miles per day in mountainous terrain and are competent with both day and night land navigation you may have what it takes to complete this intense training.
By: CDT Ben Hammond
Army Mountain Warfare school (summer phase) was a really great experience that I had this summer. It was a 15 day school located in Jericho, VT that taught basic mountaineering skills to soldiers. Some of the skills that I learned there were knots, rock climbing and rappelling, mountain evacuation and construction of systems for lifting or lowering. The school itself was a really fun and educational experience but it required a lot of determination on my part to pass all of the tests. Most of the instruction time is spent outdoors, in the area surrounding “mountain base” and is hands on demonstration and exercises. Only 10% of the instruction time is spent in the traditional classroom and that is typically interesting slideshows or lectures.
The instructors at Mountain school are the best group of NCOs that I have as of yet met in the Army. They are all experienced and knowledgeable, both about the Army and Mountain operations. The facilities at Mountain Base were amazing, I had just come from LDAC, and in comparison to those at Ft. Lewis, the Mountain School facilities were luxury hotels with gourmet cooks. The school required me to really work a lot on my own time, for example: learning knots and rope systems, to be ready for the tests that were very demanding. About 2/3 of my class made it through Mountain School and I believe that anyone who goes there with a positive attitude and drive to do well will successfully complete the course. It was a great experience and I hope to be able to return and complete the winter phase next year, earning my Ram's Head.