posted on Jun, 14 2005 @ 01:19 PM
On one of the training ranges at the base, several soldiers go through basic routines-climbing, rappelling and evacuating the injured. Donning bright
red helmets, from afar, they look like giant red ants scurry around on a massive concrete wall.
Training on this wall is more difficult than actually climbing a mountain, said Capt. Adrian Buzea. “The wall has a 90-degree inclination and even
worse in areas where the wall is built with parts that stand out,” he said. “On the mountain, you can climb as if you were climbing a set of
stairs. On a rock, you have the freedom to choose the route that may be easier, but here, you do not have that choice.”
Since 1995, the 21st Mountain Battalion has rappelled from helicopters in joint exercises with U.S. Special Forces, Army Rangers and Navy SEALs, said
Soldiers also read U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division manuals and the Ranger handbook, among others, said Ionescu.
Commander of the 2nd Mountain Hunters Brigade is Brig. Gen. Ion Bucaciuc.
His men train for free-climb up sheer rock, speedy traverses by zip wiring high above, rappellings, ambushes, observations, rescue missions and
anti-terrorist missions on a daily basis.
They call themselves the masters of improvisation. They comb the mountainsides on horseback, conducting various operations ranging from humanitarian
assistance and peace-keeping, to search and rescue at extreme heights, observations and all the specific war missions.
"We certainly have enough difficulties, but we always figure a way out", said Lt. Col. Cristinel Cernea, the battalion commander.
Mountain Hunters are trained to be independent and to survive in an inclement mountain environment, while conducting covert missions.
The history of this mountain battalion goes back to World War II. It was set up in 1940 to defend Romania’s northwestern border. Two years later,
these troops were deployed to the Crimean Peninsula. The battalion was dissolved in 1946 and reshaped in 1961.
For the future, members of this elite battalion will be drawn to a module incorporated in the integrated special forces battalion.
Until the summer of 2003, the 21st Battalion has stood up an operational company of 170 soldiers that can be deployed for NATO commitments. The
company can deploy in 12 hours for search and rescue missions and in 30 days for collective defense or large-scale combat.
In September of that same year, the whole battalion had become operational within NATO, together with the entire 2nd Mountain Brigade, to which this
battalion belongs. Brig Gen Bucaciuc stated that Romania will be able to send a complete battalion on NATO missions rather than a single company.
On a typical day, soldiers carry about 40 kg on their back, and depending on the mission they can carry up to 50 kg (100 pounds). But a commander
said that is not considered too heavy. Each soldier has to be able to operate independently. If this independence is not created, and the support for
this independence is not there, then he can't accomplish his mission.
The soldiers are trained and outfitted to be self-sufficient. Logistics support is more challenging in the mountains. Each soldier is equipped with
everything he may need to survive, including a medical kit.
Every company in the battalion has a medical group, which receives its training and certificates from Romanian medical assistance services. Every unit
has its own doctor who keeps the medical groups up to speed.
To move the injured down from the mountain (or the wall), the soldiers use a pulley that allows two men to bring down a casualty tied up in a
stretcher. A single soldier also can do that, or he can simply carry the injured on his back if it is not a serious injury. When they lack any other
means of transporting a casualty, the soldiers have learned to use a sturdy wooden rod to transport the injured. At the heights in which they operate
it is often impossible to carry a stretcher.
Wow all I have to say is these guys would be perfect in Afghanistan, that is if their not already there, I mean they have one of the best mountain
special forces units in the world. Also they could probably work with the SASR, and the NZAS and get amazing results, I mean the Aussi and New
Zealand SAS troops are very good at tracking, plus there good at mountain warfare. And the Mountain Hunters do a lot of joint training, so I have
know doubt that they could do joint operations and be succesfull.