The U.S. Army has redesigned its Arctic Tab so soldiers can show they are trained to do battle in the paralyzing cold of below-zero battlefields.
Previously worn below the soldier's unit patch, the once rectangular-shaped tab was redesigned in November 2019 and now follows the shape and placement of Ranger and Sapper tabs, according to a U.S. Army Alaska news release.
"I think what makes U.S. Army Alaska and our units unique is that we are the Army's proponent for cold weather training," Maj. Gen. Peter Andrysiak Jr., commander of U.S. Army Alaska, said in the release. "We not only live here; we thrive here, and I want to make sure the tab properly recognizes our unique expertise."
The new Arctic Tab comes with a revised wear policy that U.S. Army Pacific Gen. Paul LaCamera approved in February, allowing all arctic operations-qualified soldiers assigned to U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) units, including major subordinate commands and direct-reporting units, to wear the tab while serving at USARPAC installations according to the release.
The new tab is not authorized for wear, however, when soldiers are on temporary duty or deployment status outside the USARPAC theater, the release states.
The U.S. military has placed an increased emphasis on training soldiers and Marines for cold-weather warfare as it prepares to face potential foes such as Russia, China and North Korea.
Soldiers who graduated the Northern Warfare Training Center's Cold Weather Leaders Course (CWLC) in January became the first to wear the redesigned tab, according to the release.
Soldiers earn the Arctic Tab after completing either the CWLC or the Cold Weather Orientation Course, where they become qualified to implement basic, cold weather and ski training programs within their units to help overcome unique challenges faced while operating in harsh conditions, the release adds.
CWLC is a 15-day course that teaches small-unit leaders everything from the basics of standing and moving on skis and snowshoes, to a full range of arctic survival skills. The Cold Weather Orientation Course is a four-day class for commanders and staff officers to become more familiar with the skills required to plan and conduct operations in an arctic environment.
"From jumping into minus-100, bitter cold ... to conducting live-fire exercises at minus-30 in the Donnelly Training Area, the Northern Warfare Training Center's team of professionals ensure our soldiers are ready to deploy, fight and win in any arctic environment," Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Dillingham, U.S. Army Alaska's senior enlisted leader, said in the release. "We are the first line of defense in the West and the last line of defense in the Pacific. We are ready, we are arctic warriors, and we are arctic tough."
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.