Brand-spanking New Marine Force Deployed to Norway
A six month deployment of US Marines to Norway in the dead of winter sounds like anything but a vacation. The 285 troops from 1st Battalion 2nd Marines from Camp LeJeune will arrive soon to act as a deterrent and show of force against Russia, as well as train in new environments on a regular basis. The new force is called Marine Rotational Force Europe.
Though the Marines have been to Norway for 25 years, this will be the first time for a long deployment.
“By putting Marines in Norway and above the Arctic circle for 30-60 days at a time, that’s a whole different environment,” [Maj. Gen. Niel] Nelson said. “You not only learn to survive, you are surviving. It’s a harsh environment; it takes a lot of tough lessons and we reinforce that by the length of time.”
Marines arriving this week for the first six-month deployment of Marine Rotational Force Europe will spend the first two weeks at the barracks prepared for them in Vaernes, Norway, where temperatures currently are fairly mild, ranging from 25 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Then they will travel above the Arctic circle to Porsangermoen, Norway, where temperatures average in the single digits in January. Soon after, the Marines will participate with British and Norwegian troops in Joint Viking, one of the largest military exercises in the region.
Later in the rotation, Nelson said, the Marines will spend time in the Baltic states, participating in warmer weather exercises.
The Corps has been working with the Norwegian Government in preparation for this deployment. Norway shares a small border with Russia. The Marine Corps will be pre-positioned to help with any natural disaster or incident that might occur.
One stated purpose of the deployment is to train in an environment other than deserts. The Norwegian government has agreed to a one year trial run for the Marines in their country. USMC equipment will be stored in climate-controlled caves, so there should be no issue with freeze-ups.
At least for the equipment.
Featured photo: Master Sgt. Chad McMeen/Marine Corps