Fort Drum Soldiers Rise To Winter's Challenges


About 114 soldiers with the 10th mountain division soldiers divided into teams of three to taking on a winter challenge.

They're doing everything from snowshoeing to cross country skiing in frigid temperatures.

That's nothing new to the division that was once named the 10th Mountain Division Alpine.

During World War II, soldiers were trained to fight in the most brutal mountain conditions. 

"This event is really about the lineage and history of the division, the skills that made those soldiers successful and how we continue to challenge our soldiers today," said Major Lucas Connolly, officer in charge.

A challenge is right.

Soldiers also had to pull a sled that's more than 100 pounds.

The overall event lasted anywhere from 2 and a half to 3 and a half hours per team.

While it's not easy for soldiers to finish their tasks in these cold winter conditions, it is something many soldiers are used to. 

"Well there are soldiers in the 10th Mountain Division that have had to face similar conditions in Afghanistan. Operation Anaconda, operations in the mountains of Afghanistan, even where they're operating right now there are conditions that demand the use of snowshoes," said Connolly.

It's a practical and historical event, but soldiers will also tell you it's fun.

"The cross country skiing went really well, it helps me as a squad leader, find different things that I can get my guys interested in," said Staff Sergeant John Keseo.

The winner of the Winter Challenge gets bragging rights.

But perhaps the real reward for the soldiers was the victory of passing the finish line.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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