COLCHESTER, Vt. – Twenty Vermont Army National Guard Soldiers will compete in the 2023 Edelweiss Raid mountain warfare race in Austria March 1-2.
The team will represent the U.S. Army in the race, which features some of the best military units worldwide. The Edelweiss Raid is a grueling event that challenges Soldiers mentally and physically, testing their ability to work together and perform under pressure.
The Vermont National Guard team is well-prepared, having been the first team from the United States to compete in the event in 2019 when it finished 13th.
“The raid is the closest we get to replicating the demands of small-unit mountain combat. The whole point of making it a competition is to simulate the time demands and stresses of mountain warfare. We use it as a leader-building event – the most junior Soldiers on the team all get a leadership task that they must guide the team through,” said Maj. Nathan Fry, one of the Vermont team leaders. “The effect the raid has on building mountain sense and tactical leadership in just 48 hours is unparalleled.”
The Edelweiss Raid covers 40 kilometers and 4,000 meters of elevation gain. The competition includes up to 12 stations with required military tasks, including high-angle shooting, call for fire, and mountain casualty evacuation.
The Vermont team will include Soldiers from the Army Mountain Warfare School and the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (MTN).
“This is truly an incredible event and impressive group of Soldiers,” said Maj. Gen. Greg Knight, adjutant general for the Vermont National Guard. “I’m looking forward to seeing how this competition goes and where we place. I know the group is excited and well-prepared.”
Austria and Vermont have been partners in the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program since May 2022. But their ties go back to 1983, when the Vermont Guard opened the Army Mountain Warfare School.
Vermont also partners with Senegal and North Macedonia.