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Marines hit the high North in separate Arctic exercises

Marines are spread across the northern reaches of both Alaska and Europe in simultaneous, but separate Arctic exercises this winter.

Leathernecks from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force are in Norway for the U.S. European Command’s Nordic Response 2024.

At the same time, Marine Corps Reserve units alongside Marine with the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force are participating in a large-scale field exercise dubbed Arctic Edge that spans various locations in Alaska, according to a Marine news release.

In January II Marine Expeditionary Force Marines in Norway began prepping for the exercise, which kicked off March 4 and will run to March 15, according to a Norwegian Armed Forces release.

The exercise coordinates U.S. and Norwegian forces with the United Kingdom-led Joint Warrior, a naval exercise that takes place between Scotland, Norway and Iceland the week before Nordic Response.

The joint, multinational exercise is part of the larger NATO Steadfast Defender exercise that takes place throughout Germany, Poland and the Baltic region.

All of which are aimed at countering Russian military aggression in Eastern and Northern Europe.

The Pentagon recently announced it would release a new Arctic Strategy in 2024, following the previous strategies released by both former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden that sought to increase training and troop presence in the region to counter ongoing efforts by both the Russia and China to increase their military footprint in the area.

The II Marine Expeditionary Force Marines are assigned to the Marine Rotational Force–Europe.

“Norway is special to us. Our countries have been working together for more than a century,” said II MEF commander Lt. Gen. David Ottignon in the Marine release. “II MEF has trained side-by-side, strengthening bonds and operating as one cohesive team in Norway during the last decade of Cold Response exercises.”

The Alaska-based Arctic Edge exercise, which runs from Feb. 23 to March 11, is run by U.S. Northern Command and includes U.S. Army Green Berets and troops from the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) alongside Denmark’s Jaeger Corps.

“Arctic Edge 2024 provides Marines with a unique opportunity to exercise interoperable power projection from the homeland and fortify simultaneous global efforts to deter adversarial advance along the Arctic approaches,” said Lt. Gen. Brian Cavanaugh, commander of Marine Forces Northern Command in the Marine release.

Marine reservists with Fox Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division conducted a rapid insertion of the high mobility artillery rocket systems using a U.S. Air Force C-130 cargo plane, according to a NORTHCOM release.

The rocket system and plane combination gave Marines a speedy way to deepen the range of their weapons systems, said Gunnery Sgt. Jon Ohlman, a Fox Battery HIMARS operator.

“Our capability for long-range precision fires, coupled with our mobility using C-130 and C-17 transport, enables us to be swiftly positioned in areas of the battlespace that would otherwise be out of reach for conventional weapon systems,” Ohlman said.

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