BERGA NAVAL BASE, SWEDEN --
U.S. Marines and Sailors from the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment (1/6), 2d Marine Division (2d MARDIV), and Swedish Marines from the 204th Rifle Company, 2nd Marine Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, completed the third iteration of Exercise Archipelago Endeavor, today, on Berga Naval Base, Sweden, September 27, 2021.
The bilateral, infantry and maneuver-centric exercise focused on the exchange of knowledge between the U.S. and Swedish Marine units in the Stockholm archipelago. Since the beginning of Archipelago Endeavor 2021, Marines from both nations have honed skills and processes associated with mission planning, sniper tradecraft, machine gun tactics, patrolling, amphibious raid tactics utilizing the combat boat 90 (CB-90), the employment of unmanned aerial surveillance systems, and the fusion of indirect fires in support of a partnered force maneuvering throughout a vastly dispersed littoral environment.
Swedish Marine Captain Douglas Hed, the company commander of the 204th Marine Rifle Company, highlighted successes earned from the bilateral training event.
“Archipelago Endeavor 2021 provided the chance for our Swedish Marines to learn from the U.S. Marines and the exercise offered the opportunity for understanding ways in which we are both similar and different.” He continued, “When Marines from other countries come together for training, they work hard to show their service and country in the best possible ways. I am one hundred percent confident that lessons learned by both forces can be applied and adapted to wherever our militaries find ourselves deployed.”
The Stockholm Archipelago is composed of nearly 30,000 wooded islands, islets, and crags, which present an ideal training environment for both Marine forces to practice seizure of key maritime terrain, conduct sea denial operations, and support sea control in a contested area. The U.S. Marine Corps officially refers to this warfare concept as expeditionary advanced base operations (EABO).
Captain Travis Bird, the U.S. Marine Corps company commander of Alpha Company, 1/6, also expressed his thoughts on the Marines’ ability to conduct training in the Stockholm Archipelago.
“[U.S.] Marines take great pride in being able to fight anywhere, in any place, and at any time,” said Bird. He continued, “Within a moment’s notice, we can be deployed anywhere in the world.
Coming to a place like Sweden and training in an environment that is different from Camp Lejeune, or on the west coast, or at any of our home bases, gives us that edge, that ability to adapt quickly to new conditions.”
The exercise’s culminating event required efficient, simplified interoperability to be leveraged by both forces as they utilized CB-90 assault craft for raiding numerous small islands throughout the archipelago. Archipelago Endeavor 2021 ultimately increases the capabilities and lethality of both forces, while also strengthening a strategic partnership in the Baltic Sea.
Swedish Marine Colonel Patrik Gardesten, commanding officer of the Swedish 1st Marine Regiment, summarized the significance of the bilateral training. “Partnered exercises like Archipelago Endeavor, where our respective units get to practice planning and carrying out
assignments together, are an important part of strategic military relationships.” He added, “The exercise sends signals about shared interests and means that we increase our own defense capabilities as well as the capabilities of others who we work together with.”