Apr 4, 2022
VT National Guard Soldiers Train with Saudi Special Forces on Mountain Skills


During multiple weeklong training iterations from October through November, approximately 70 Task Force Avalanche Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 172 Infantry (Mountain), and 30 RSLF Soldiers sharpened their mountain warfare skills with Royal Saudi Special Land Forces Instructors.

A recent report from the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS) highlighted the Army National Guard soldiers and their joint training sessions at the Royal Saudi Land Forces Mountain Warfare School.

Below is an excerpt from the DVIDS report.

According to Task Force Avalanche’s operation officer, Maj. Garion Ford, training included mountain casualty evacuation, fixed rope and cliff traverse, rappelling, and tactical situation training.

During the exercises, Soldiers of both nations fully integrated.

“The Training was fantastic on both sides and we stationed three linguists at the RSLF Mountain Warfare School to build rapport with our hosts,” Ford explained. “Our linguists did amazing work and even participated in the training,” Ford explained.

Ford credited Capt. Robert Dorey as the task forces liaison and lead climb leader Sgt. 1st Class William Thibeault for their efforts during the training. “Their ability to develop relationships with our hosts helped with this being the first time a conventional U.S. unit had trained in concert with the RSLF SF at their school.”

The Soldiers of Task Force Avalanche enjoyed the chance to take part in the training.

“It was hands-down an amazing experience to train with the Saudi Arabian force and see how they do their training,” said Staff Sgt. Alan Bouffard, multichannel transmission systems operator-maintainer, HHC 3-172 IN (MTN). “They also got to see how we do things and training together was one of the highlights of my deployment.”

While the training took place at the mountain school, Ford said Task Force Avalanche Soldiers provided advice on mountain techniques requiring less equipment that was easier to use.

“We try to carry very little specialized equipment and what we do carry should have more than one function to cut down on weight carried by Soldiers.”

This training was also beneficial for U.S. Army Soldiers who have not been to the Vermont school yet.

To read the full report on the Vermont National Guard soldiers from DVIDS, click here.