Combat & Casualty Care

Q1 2017

Military Magazines in the United States and Canada, Covering Combat and Casualty Care, first responders, rescue and medical products programs and news\Tactical Defense Media

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make them as fun as possible. For example, one day Soldiers and testers trekked to two stunning glaciers in the area around CRTC's ranges. "That was in part a motivational thing for the Soldiers," said Howell. "We needed deep snow, and that's where the deep snow was. Seeing something cool was the carrot at the end of the stick: the glaciers themselves were not a component of the test." In a typical squad of Soldiers utilizing the Ahkio, three to five pull the sled while others walk ahead in snow shoes to break a trail. On this day, four feet of virgin snow stood between the Soldiers and test team and their objective, seven miles away. "That day was pretty daunting. We, the test team, functioned as trailbreakers because we didn't have a full group of 10 Soldiers." Howell walked in the center, while two men behind him would put one of their steps within one of his footprints, ensuring the thinner trail the sled would be traversing would be the most densely packed. A former infantry officer, Howell is cognizant of the Ahkio sled's vital importance to cold regions Soldiers in all seasons. "It has applicability to the non-cold seasons," he said, "It all depends on the terrain." Tough in the Rough One particular type of Arctic terrain is particularly disliked by hikers -- muskeg. These are Arctic bogs that, from a distance, look like short-grassy plains but are, in reality, stagnant pools of waterlogged, spongy vegetation in various states of decomposition. Muskeg is interspersed with stunted trees and concealed ponds of acidic water that can trap unwary animals. "I have walked in many different terrain types on this planet, and nothing has been harder than walking in muskeg," said Howell. "You have these tussocks that rise two feet above the ground and it's nearly impossible to traverse with a load on your back." All told, the Soldiers and test team dragged the sled 52 miles on foot in ten grueling days. After each march the Soldiers and test officers recorded their comments on the sled's performance. The test team saved the last day of testing for a destructive test, loading the Ahkio to 350 pounds of weight and dropping it from a forklift raised to different elevations onto its front, back, side, and bottom. When dropped nose-first from 15 feet, the sled's aluminum frame bent at its impact point, but otherwise remained intact, a fitting end to a punishing test of one of a cold regions Soldier's most important accessories. Sked ® Complete Rescue System * A litter for evacuating wounded soldiers. * A carrier for dragging equipment (mortar rounds, ammo, etc.) * Also used for breaching concertina wire Tel: 1-800-770-SKED (7533) Scan for more I n f o r m a t i o n Skedco Inc. Est. 1981 Made in USA to save our troops wherever they are. The Sked does multiple duties: Soldiers assigned to the 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, U.S. Army Alaska, puch an ahkio sled while conducting cold weather training in single-digit temperatures at Forward Operating Base Sparta on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Alaska provides USARAK Soldiers with training opportunities on tactics, techniques, and procedures for cold-weather military operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Justin Connaher) Spring 2017 | Combat & Casualty Care | 25

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