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Snow Helps Fort Bragg Soldiers Learn to Fight All Elements

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FAYETTEVILLE — Much of North Carolina was unprepared for the snow, but the timing could not have been better for some Fort Bragg soldiers who have been camping out in the winter weather for nearly two weeks straight.

This is only the second time Fort Bragg soldier Cornilius Hargett has ever seen snow. The Mississippi native is one of hundreds of soldiers now living and sleeping outdoors in it. They are part of a two-week Outdoor Warfighter exercise.

"During the day you can stay warm easily just by working, by moving back and forth," Hargett says. "At night, [you] just put on extra clothes, get into your sleeping bag and hope for the best."

The Battle Command Training prepares commanders and their staff for combat.

The training has been scheduled for over two years, and leaders say troops fight battles in inclement weather so three snow storms were not going to stop this exercise.

"America's Army will go anywhere, anytime we are told, and that includes cold weather environments like this," says Bragg spokesperson Lieut. Col. Jim Hinnant.

Officials say if anything, the snow has added to the training value. Even 82nd Airborne Division soldiers fighting the cold agree.

"You have to adapt and overcome to whatever would happen because if we ever went to somewhere where it's very cold, you have to train like you're going there as well," says specialist Jason Shepherd.

The folks at Fort Bragg say even with the bitterly cold temperatures, they have had no weather-related injuries.

The exercise ends Friday.


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