Throughout history, many powerful armies were defeated because they were ill-equipped or unprepared for inclement weather.
Even the US military has a storied history with the merciless Mother Nature – from the early days of Valley Forge to the Battle of the Bulge, years of fighting in campaigns throughout the world have given the American army knowledge about being prepared for adverse weather patterns.
Here are 16 pictures that show how the US military operates within the snow:
An officer from the Army Mountain Warfare School observes soldiers climbing Smugglers’ Notch during their final phase of the Basic Military Mountaineering course.
A US Army soldier provides security using his M240B machine gun during a unit reconnaissance patrol in Hohenfels, Germany.
The guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) transits the Black Sea.
Paratroopers fire a 105mm Howitzer in Alaska.
- Justin Connaher/US Air Force
US Marines pull a Marine Corps Cold Weather Infantry Kit, or MCCWIK, sled up a slope during a field exercise aboard Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, California. The MCCWIK allows service members to move equipment over snow-covered terrain that vehicles are unable to traverse.
A US Marine with the Black Sea Rotational Force spends time with a Norwegian search-and-rescue dog during cold-weather training aboard Skoganvarre, Norway.
US Army paratroopers practice a tactical halt with the new Light Tactical All Terrain Vehicle.
- US Army
F-16 Fighting Falcons taxi down the runway in Alaska.
Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) practice a variety of shooting techniques with their M4A1 rifles in Germany.
- Adam Sanders/US Army
Two AH-64D Apache helicopters approach the flight line as snowcapped mountains provide the backdrop.
- US Army
Paratroopers practice a forced-entry parachute assault in Alaska.
- Alejandro Pena/US Air Force
US Marines and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers practice cross-country skiing at the Yausubetsu Training Area in Hokkaido, Japan.
A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter gets run up to ensure mission readiness during a snow storm on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.
- Sgt. Duncan Brennan/US Army
US Army mine clearing line explosive charges launch in Afghanistan. The route-clearing procedure was to deploy a mine clearing line charge to destroy possible improvised explosive devices.
- US Army
US airmen work with Marines at a forward area refueling point, in support of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts in Japan.
- US Air Force
US Marines participate in the opening ceremony for the Grand Rapids Pond Hockey Classic. The Marines braved subzero wind-chill temperatures to present the colors on the frozen surface of Reeds Lake in Grand Rapids, Michigan.