LAHTI, Finland — Seven Soldiers from the 54th Engineer Battalion of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s 18th Engineer Brigade attended winter combat training with the Finnish Defensive Forces here Jan. 29 to Feb. 5 in order to train on arctic survival and combat techniques.
Phase one of the three-phase event began with two days focused on movement techniques with Nordic skis along with ruck sacks, survival equipment, personal weapons and a squad sled.
Soldiers trained on cold weather injuries, cold weather injury treatments and how to construct a winter shelter.
The second phase focused on training Soldiers on Finnish communications equipment, casualty treatment and extraction techniques, fire construction, anti-tank and anti personnel mines, shoulder fired anti-tank rocket systems and weapon marksmanship.
During the third phase, Soldiers conducted a 24-hour foot patrol consisting of a tactical movement to a predetermined assembly area, preparing a shelter, and executing a hasty ambush on an armored tracked vehicle.
“Over the course of a week we built new friendships, learned important winter survival skills, trained on winter combat scenarios, and got the chance to see how our brethren in arms live and work,” said 1st Lt. Michael Chigbrow, executive officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 54th Engineer Bn. “I believe that we could use portions of their training to help build more responsive and self sufficient platoons and squads.”
For the 54th Engineer Soldiers, this was a unique partnership opportunity to learn foreign doctrine under conditions not typically trained in.
“We learned an invaluable skill by further understanding hit and run tactics at the small unit level,” said Sgt. Nicholas Riviera, public affairs noncommissioned officer, HHC, 54th Engineer Bn., 18th Engineer Bde.