|Trainees, led by Kars, ski up the mountains in Austria March 14. (Courtesy photo) Click to enlarge|
GCMC Public Affairs
GERLOSSTEIN REGION, ZILLERTALER ALPS, Austria (March 27, 2013) – Military winter training with an international flavor brought 18 people, including several from the Defense Department’s George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, here March 11-15.
Soldiers and civilians from the Marshall Center and the NATO School in Oberammergau travelled to the Austrian Alps for a week-long immersion in winter survival skills, high-alpine ski touring and avalanche training. The training was led by German army Lt. Col. Jan Kars, a member of the Marshall Center staff and a military mountain guide and expedition leader.
“The Zillertaler Alps region in Austria provided a unique and challenging environment for the participants to foster team-building and interpersonal relationships,” Kars said of the event.
As part of the ski touring training, the group reached the Gerlosstein summit, about 7,100 feet. Kars also provided instruction in avalanche rescue. Each trainee got hands-on experience by rescuing an avalanche victim with the aid of a transceiver and a probe. Kars said by the end of the training everyone was able to locate someone buried in less than five minutes.
Participants from the Marshall Center included (from the German army) Kars, Lt. Col. Konrad Lau, Capt. Frank Baer, 1st Lt. Christoph Paul, and Master Sgt. Chris Metzger; from the German air force, Lt. Col. Michael Ebersbach, Lt. Col. Ralf Lopau, and Senior Master Sgt. Martin Rein; and Army Lt. Col. Geoffrey Van Epps, a Army fellow. The NATO School was represented by Maj. Denis Forest, Royal Canadian Air Force; Heike Hagenauer, Elisabeth Lischka, and Lothar Muehlgasser, German civilians; Lt. Col. Ronny Sorby, Norwegian army; U.S. Army Lt. Col. Joel Jeffson; U.S. Navy Cmdr. Greg Provencher; U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Rosemary Birchard; and Cmdr. Brain Meakin, Royal Navy.