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Two Tactics to Keep From Freezing to Death in Icy Conditions

•, By Cade Courtley

Most recently was the "bomb cyclone" that brought with it subzero temperatures and massive flooding — not to mention its crippling effect on all forms of travel.

My first platoon at SEAL Team 2 was considered a "winter warfare" platoon because we were going to be deployed overseas during the winter months. This meant we added an additional six months of pre-deployment training to prepare for operating in frigid and potentially unforgiving environments.

First stop was Alaska, where we learned that the only way to work in these extreme environments was to live in them. This meant spending a lot of time outside. We would get dropped off on a Monday morning and told we would be picked up (sometimes 50 miles away) the following Friday.

We learned quickly it was ALL about energy conservation and equipment economy — the lighter, the better. Some guys went as far as cutting their toothbrush handle in half. Since water is heavy, we relied on the use of mini-stoves (white gas) to melt snow. Hydration is just as important (if not more so) in extremely cold environments, so this was a major priority.

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