SETERMOEN, Norway --
To die side-by-side with a friend or live side-by-side with an ally, that is the question. U.S. Marines with 1st Platoon, Force Reconnaissance Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division integrated with the Norwegian military during Force Detachment 20.1 from Oct. 2019 through April 2020.
The deployment primarily focused on cold-weather training alongside the Norwegian military. The Marines conducted multiple exercises including a sniper range, free-fall operations, and the Norwegian Army’s Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol course during the deployment to enhance interoperability between the two militaries.
“It’s important to have a good understanding of each other during tactical circumstances,” said Norwegian Army Capt. Henrik, the officer in charge of the LRRP course. “I know that if we ever work together in a real-life mission that this deployment has strengthened our ability to come together as a more lethal force.”
FORECON has fully embedded with the Norwegians. Unlike any rotation before, the Marines integrated into their daily routine and training continuum which built a trusted and lasting partnership. They lived, ate, trained, and slept in the same spaces within the Norwegian Military Intelligence Battalion.
“We have gotten insight of each other’s cultures during this time together,” said Henrik. “We lived together, trained together and even celebrated Christmas together. Being integrated like this has helped us understand each other’s capabilities and skillsets.”
The Marines participated in the course to enhance combat readiness and interoperability between the two militaries.
“We conducted the LRRP course alongside the Norwegians,” said U.S. Marine Capt. Alex Wettstein, the platoon commander of 1st Platoon, FORECON. “We learned a myriad of cold-weather tactics and survival techniques. We learned a lot about living in these conditions and working amongst the Norwegians.”
Completing LRRP is the Norwegian Army’s requirement to become a field operator in the LRRP Squadron. The course includes long distance movements, cold-weather survival techniques and live-fire drills. The Marines in FORECON are the third iteration of Marines to go through the course in recent years.
"We can train anywhere in the world,” said Wettstein. “We come here so that we can work with the LRRP Squadron. It’s not just about cold weather training. It’s about making sure we understand each other’s tactics so we can be interoperable, and this deployment has solidified our ability to maximize our combat effectiveness.”
The deployment strengthened the expeditionary readiness, warfighting excellence, and bond between FORECON and the Norwegian military. The Marines’ presence enables our European Allies to globally deploy their militaries alongside United States fighting forces.