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About 440 North Carolina-based Marines will move prepositioned gear out of caves in Norway for the first time in decades during a multinational exercise aimed at cold weather military training.
Members of Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, will team with Marines with Ragnarok Company, 2nd Supply Battalion, during Exercise Cold Response 2014. The companies, both based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., will travel to the Arctic Circle for the 16-nation exercise. They’ll join 15,000 troops from across Europe and Canada for the 11-day exercise that begins on March 10.
While there, the Marines will move equipment out of six climate-controlled caves in central Norway. The service stores vehicles, ammunition, generators and engineering equipment there, in partnership with its host nation. It’s known as the Marine Corps Prepositioning Program-Norway, and dates back to the Cold War.
The Marines will move more than 3,000 pieces of equipment out of the caves to be used during Exercise Cold Response, said Capt. Eric Flanagan, a Marine spokesman at the Pentagon. The equipment will be used during the exercise and then, when the training is completed, it will be returned to the caves, he added.
Maj. Alfredo Romero II, commanding officer of Ragnarok Company, which is part of 2nd Marine Logistics Group, said participating in the exercise — and the predeployment training that led up to it — is a return to missions that the unit conducted prior to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We [will be] doing things the MLG has not done in a long time,” Romero said, according to a Marine Corps news release. “We are going to be the first unit with the MLG to do the mountain warfare winter package, and we’re going to be the first MLG unit to take gear out of the caves [in Norway], which has not been done since the 1990s.”
In preparation for the exercise, both units conducted cold weather training aboard the Mountain Warfare Training Center at Bridgeport, Calif., in January and February. The Marines with Ragnarok Company took classes on cold weather survival techniques and mountain hazards, and conducted high-altitude hikes, according to a news release. The Golf Company Marines practiced skijoring — skiing while being towed by an animal or vehicle, snowshoeing, cliff assaults and long-range day and night movements.
During the exercise, the Marines will train with troops from Norway, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and countries of the United Kingdom.