JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - U.S. Army paratroopers with Hatchet Company, 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division carried out a weeklong, arctic field training exercise designed to hone skills in mountaineering, arctic survival, sling load and air assault operations, and sniper precision fire from high angle and aerial platforms March 3-6, 2014, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

The purpose of the training was to provide immediate, safe, accurate, and lethal sniper fire in support of ground commanders. Scouts sharpened individual and collective skills while planning and executing missions with enabling partners from the Alaska Army National Guard allowed for improved interoperability.

Hatchet Company's scout platoon leader, 1st Lt. Matthew Mitchell, said the training will help his platoon provide sniper support capabilities at the battalion's upcoming Joint Forcible Entry Exercise at Fort Greely, while also improving their arctic operational abilities.

"At the end of this training, we will be better at basic skills, such as PCCs and PCIs [pre-combat checks and pre-combat inspections], and planning and preparation for a mission, and also following through with growing capabilities," said Mitchell.
Alaska Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters with the 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment, sling loaded a small unit support vehicle (SUSV) and a completely gutted 1989 Chevrolet Camaro to the scouts' mountainside location.

Spc. Kyle Lupenski, an infantryman who was on the mountain to receive the equipment, said, "We are training in arctic proficiency, and this is a good experience for us to get out and shoot. We will be climbing these mountains with a lot of weight, and shooting down at the Camaro."

The Camaro spent the week on the mountainside as a target for high-angle fire. On Friday, it was airlifted to JBER's Malemute Drop Zone for use as a target for the aerial firing range.

The training mutually benefitted both Army components. The Alaska National Guard pilots got invaluable flight time, and the paratroopers received the unique aerial platform precision fire training.

Alaska Army National Guard Capt. Brendon Holbrook, a pilot with the 1-207th said, "We don't get to do this every day. It was really good to be able to support the ground element, and do some great training."

Other key training events during the week included operating the SUSV in a mountainous, arctic environment, and conducting long distance and night fire ranges.