Form secret caves to Norwegian rails: Marines move equipment across Norway for Cold Response
By Cpl. Dalton Precht, II Marine Expeditionary Force
The Norwegian Home Guard and U.S. Marines moved main battle tanks, amphibious assault vehicles, artillery, and equipment forward to one of the largest live-fire ranges in Norway Feb. 12 in preparation for Exercise Cold Response 2016.
“The rail operations provide a quick and easy mode of transportation to move around for Cold Response 16,” said Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Conradi, logistics operations chief with Marine Forces Europe and Africa.
The equipment from the Marine Corps Prepositioning Program-Norway, which includes M1A1 main battle tanks, light armored vehicles, amphibious assault vehicles, and other combat vehicles, were drawn from stockpiles stored and meticulously maintained in secure caves throughout central Norway. Tons of it was loaded onto railcars on its way to a live-fire exercise in Rena, Norway, in the coming days.
“This lets us work side by side and get expertise from the Norwegians, who operate in this environment full time,” said Conradi.
MCPP-N enables Marines to fall in on battle-ready equipment and quickly move it forward, enhances the Corps’ ability to respond to crises in the region quickly and effectively. The railhead’s accessibility from the caves makes it that much more effective.
“This is as important as any other training,” said Norwegian Army Capt. Rune Andersen, the company commander for Movement and Transportation Company, Host Nation Support Battalion. “Several aspects of that with integration of nations and preparing them in this climate all come together and prepare us for Cold Response.”
The Norwegians and Marines of 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade show the capability of Marine Corps prepositioning and host-nation support.
“We love to work with the Marines,” he said. “It’s an important thing to do for us to be able to train with them. We are lucky to have the Marines come over and do all of our training here.”
Exercise Cold Response is a regularly scheduled training event designed to enhance joint crisis response capabilities in cold weather environments.
This year’s exercise will include NATO allies and partners from 13 countries to improve capabilities in cold-weather conditions.