U.S. Marines with Marine Rotational Force-Europe 21.1, Marine Forces Europe and Africa, completed their intensive arctic training Sunday, marking the end of a six-week deployment to Setermoen, Norway, and have returned to their home station, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
This deployment, according to the press release, was the first of the shorter MRF-E deployments since the end of six-month rotational deployments in September, and further enhanced the operational readiness, interoperability, and security cooperation of U.S. and Norwegian forces.
“We have learned a lot from our time here in northern Norway,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Gordinier, commander of 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, the current MRF-E contingent. “For the Marines and Sailors, they have learned how to survive, thrive, and fight in the beginning of the arctic winter. For the staff and the commanders, we have learned what it takes to truly integrate with Brigade North through all warfighting functions.”
The Marines continued the legacy of the long and close U.S.-Norway security relationship by safely forward-deploying more than 300 Marines and Sailors to participate in arctic cold weather training and Exercise Reindeer II alongside the soldiers of Brigade North. In January 2021, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment will return to Norway as part of MRF-E to conduct a follow-on deployment consisting of approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors.
“I look forward to the return of the Marines in January,” said Brigader Pål Berglund, commander of Brigade North. “Our cooperation increases NATO’s interoperability and secures common interests. Winter training in Norway is rough and it’s a great opportunity to increase your skills.”
After a quarantine period at their training location in Norway to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission, the Marines and Sailors of MRF-E 21.1 will continue arctic warfare training and participate in multi-lateral exercises Reindeer I and Joint Viking.
“As the polar night becomes the norm, we look forward to continuing our steps in more intertwined interoperability with Brigade North and the Norwegian Army,” said Gordinier. “The ‘Teufelhunden Battalion’ is honored to be a part of the lineage of Marine Rotational Force-Europe deployments. We know that the rest of the arctic winter is coming and we looking forward to our continued pursuit of excellence to make our NATO alliance stronger.”