Military Report: Soldiers discuss how to thrive in arctic environment

FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Soldiers from across the United States gathered on Fort Wainwright this week to participate in this year's Arctic Cold Weather Symposium. The symposium is a partnership between U.S. Army Alaska and the 10th mountain division based out of New York.

"We come together to hopefully create a unified front on what's best for deploying, fighting and winning in an arctic environment," said Ryan Dillingham, command sergeant major with U.S. Army Alaska.

Dillingham says the cold is the biggest threat soldiers face when training in an arctic environment.

"I would say our biggest shortfall across the arctic is boots, hats and gloves. So within that, we focus on the right equipment. Another thing is batteries. Batteries don't survive very well in very cold environments, so us trying to find a material solution for the bigger army is very important to us," he said.

Major Matt Robinson, with the Canadian Army, says working together with the United States is important to them and they try to share areas of interest.

"Whether its equipment or development, it's always important to us. That's what I'm doing here. I'm learning more about what's going on with the U.S. Army," said Robinson.

Robinson says extreme cold can make mobility much harder, and that with this symposium, both sides can join together to find solutions to help navigate this cold weather challenge. He also said that it's not just about surviving but that trying to do your job in the extreme cold.

Dillingham says at the end of the event, they hope to send a signed document to the Department of Army as a unified front of what's best for fighting in a cold weather environment.