BOLESŁAWIEC, Poland - U.S. Army Soldiers with 3rd Infantry Division based out of Fort Stewart, Georgia, are leaning into readiness during their current deployment to Europe as the winter season approaches. To ensure readiness, Task Force Marne Soldiers stationed throughout Poland and the Baltic States, where average winter temperatures drop below freezing, in stark contrast to Georgia’s 50-60 degree days, are preparing for the imminent cold-weather conditions by embracing winterization practices.
Winterization processes include equipping Soldiers with cold-weather clothing and fitting vehicles and equipment to operate safely and efficiently, taking into account the type of terrain in the area and weather pattern frequency.
Cold-weather preparations are drawn from hard lessons-learned across various battlefields from the Revolutionary War to the War in Afghanistan. For 3rd Infantry Division, winterization practices are essential to continuing training safely and effectively alongside other U.S. and multinational troops throughout the area of operations, despite mother nature’s extreme challenges.
Maj. Samuel Pearce, division engineer with Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, spoke to the deliberative planning needed to ensure that tasks are completed thoroughly.
“Winterization is the practice of mitigating environmental effects in order to enable safe and healthy work environments for our Soldiers to complete their missions and daily operations,” Pearce said. “You have to start multiple months prior to the temperature dropping and the environmental effects coming in because a lot of times, you need to make coordination for either snow removal, or you need to purchase chains for tires.”
Those unfamiliar with winterization can find themselves susceptible to injuries which removes them from the mission and causes mission delays, Pearce added.
Sgt. Rolky Paul, a medic with HHB, 3rd Division Artillery (DIVARTY), instructed a class how to properly layer winter clothing to stay warm against the elements. Issued gear includes the Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS), which can prevent injuries like frostbite and trench foot while maintaining stable core temperatures.
“We learned how to properly dress so we can make that gear as beneficial as possible to keep you warm," said SSG Craig Woody with 3rd Infantry Division Headquarters Support Company. “There’s ways to put on the gear to keep you warm more efficiently.”
“Soldiers need to acclimate to a new operational environment significantly different from the generally warm and humid weather experienced during garrison and field training at home station,” Cpt. Sean Ballesteros-Perez, the 3rd Infantry Division HHB Battery Commander, said. “We expect to continue and improve our equipment readiness as 3ID DIVARTY operates in a winter operational environment.”
Winterization training for 3rd DIVARTY, currently in Latvia, will focus on equipment maintenance, as well as individual readiness, as Soldiers face harsh weather during the coming winter months.
Cold-weather maintenance training focuses on how to properly service various vehicles and generators. Equipment features such as fuel, petroleum, oil and lubricants are given attention since these are affected due to cold weather. These measures ensure that the equipment is working appropriately and any serious issues can be detected in a timely manner.
Learn more about 3rd Infantry Division