The eight members of the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) were prepared for the arctic cold they were about to leap into, the temperature in the C-17’s cargo compartment had been purposefully dropped to 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
As part of the training exercise Vigilant Shield, one of many that the U.S. military holds alongside its allies to get ready for combat in the arctic tundra, the Green Berets were on their way to practice military freefall and parachuting. Each operator was forced to “contemplate the finer aspects of frostbite and temperature at which eyeballs freeze” by facing the minus 100 degree wind. The temperatures where so low that the batteries in the GPS and communication gear failed, and their oil-boat compasses were frozen. Members of Indigenous communities could provide essential lessons to U.S. service members who may have to fight in the Arctic, with generations of mastering not just how to survive in the arctic, but how two master it.