Cold Weather Operation

Cold Weather Training In Norway 1984 Cpl Kunkel

Here are a few pictures from the Med float we did in the 1984. We (Lima 3/8) did a joint operation with the Norwegian Home Guard before we landed back in Beirut to relieve 2/8. It was a cold-weather operation so to prepare us for the operation we went up to Camp Ripley Minnesota. And let me tell you it was cold as a witch’s… well, I’ll leave that to the imagination of the readers. Anyway, most of us b-tched and complained (as usual) thinking that there was no way the cold of Minnesota could ever prepare us for the cold of Norway. Well, as usual again we were stupid aszes for thinking that someone above our dumb aszes did not know a thing or two about proper training and had been through one or two rodeos before. Norway’s cold and snow was NOTHING compared to Camp Ripley and Minnesota! We were well prepared to say the least.

Cold Weather Training In Norway 1984 Cpl Kunkel picture 2

Cold Weather Training In Norway 1984 Cpl Kunkel picture 3

Cold Weather Training In Norway 1984 Cpl Kunkel picture 4

The ten-man tents we stayed in took a little teamwork to get them set up properly, but the oil-fired Yukon stoves and the body heat kept us warm at night. The weapons were kept outside to avoid taking them from the cold to the heat and back again and allow for condensation to form rust on the metal parts. Then too it provided for more room to move around the tents without having to move around weapons, particularly the M60 machine gun, tripod and spare barrel bag and all the rounds. The three worst spots in the tent were the two spots next to the hatch flaps and then the spot directly across from the hatch flap if someone got out during the night to make a head call or switch up the fire-watch. Of course the many farts in there were horrendous even though we were in our sleeping bags, but that was to be expected. The spot next to the stove could be good or bad depending on how hot that stove got. For me the worst part was sweating while we were humping during the day and then having to strip down to the buff in the cold to change into dry clothes.

Due to the extreme cold, Junior would hide during a standing head-call and finding him could be problematic through all those layers, and many a good Jarhead p-ssed on the white, winter camo layers, but hey, you do what you gotta do. Also, I did not think the Mickey Mouse boots were warm at all. Towing all of our gear in the sleds was neat at times, but required that we all work together to keep that sled moving straight and not veering off the path. If someone was slacking, you could easily tell and the others had to compensate. Gung Ho, Gung Ho! Humping with those snow-shoes was a royal b-tch and was in and of itself a h-ll of a workout, but as I recall we did not have to use them too often. Attached are a few pictures and one is of a view of one of the fiords. Being a history buff, I stood there in amazement knowing that the German battleship Bismarck and the Heavy Cruiser Prinz Eugen could have pulled up in those very fiords to hide. Semper Fi!

Mike Kunkel
Cpl 0331
Lima 3/8 Weapons Plt

3 thoughts on “Cold Weather Operation”

  1. Mike – did you know a SgtMaj William (Bill) Workman? I believe Bill was the SgtMaj for 8th Marines or 8th Comm at about this time, but … Bill was my recruiter when he was in Marshall, MN in 1973. Back to Legeune; visiting with Bill and he was laughing at the unit leadership and wanting to go to Alaska. Bill told them to save their money and told them to head to Camp Ripley in Minnesota. Currently I live 45 minutes NE of Camp Ripley and yep … winter is winter or as we know it “basement season” when we do hobby stuff in the basement aka below decks. I laughed at the whizzing on your clothing and if you are outside just wearing bibs for hunting, firewood, moving snow, fishing, or camping; it is always the same to dig things out. At a family funeral, we started talking about going hunting and dropping a load; my Brothers hunting bud has to go poo, there is a hood on his coveralls, he gets the coveralls down and drops a load, get the overalls back up, flips up his hood and the hood is full of poo. A crappy deal. My cousin just went to “cold weather leadership training in Fairbanks, Ak” and Daniel grew up in Montana. I asked Daniel if he learned anything and Daniel said no. Seems he learned to be cold in Montana; it was -55 below when he got to learn leadership in the Army. This year I will build my retirement deer stand; it will have a wood stove in it because I hate working up cold. Take care,

  2. Pete, No, I did not know SGTMaj Workman, but his name does seem to ring a bell. I can recall all of our Company Gunnys and the First Shirts, but not the SgtMaj, so he could have the SgtMaj when I was in 3/8. I don’t recall the temp outside at Ripley, but I do know that your nose hairs froze up along with your mustache if you had one, but what I recall most is that it was so cold that it actually hurt to breath in that air into your nose cavity. We had those OD green pullover hoods that covered your entire head and face except for the area around your eyes, but nothing that we were issued was keeping that cold out. Your story about your brother’s hunting buddy cracked me up. I was a lineman for my first ten years with BGE and we wore the Carhardt coveralls too. I only wore the bibb version for just what happened to your brother’s hunting buddy. Several guys I worked with crapped on their own coveralls on several occasions! I came close a few times working storm duty late at night, but thankfully got the bibb flaps and shoulder straps far enough away. One guy I worked with crapped on his strap and did not realize it. When he walked back to the trucks, one of the guys said he smelled shit. Only then did the guy look over at his shoulder and realized what happened. I can’t believe he did not smell it himself. LOL Semper Fi Pete! Mike

  3. Son, Camp Ripley Mn. ain’t nothin’ compared to places like the Echo Trail, Warroad, Baudette and a 100 other little icebergs in northern Minnesota where you could drive a 6by across the lakes.

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