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  • 19
  • Feb
  • 2016
Combined arms, combined forces: U.S. Marines, Norwegian Army take to firing line

By Cpl. Dalton Precht, II Marine Expeditionary Force

RENA, Norway -- U.S. Marines with the Combined Arms Company and members of the Norwegian Army took to the firing line as part of their integration during a live-fire exercise in Rena, Norway, Feb. 18, 2016.

The Marines are conducting this training to improve their abilities in cold weather environments.

U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Kyle Lloyd, the master gunner for the tanks of Combined Arms Company, said “After pulling the tanks out of the caves, we zeroed all the weapon systems to prove they would be ready if ever needed.”

The M1A1 Abrams Tanks were joined by the Norwegian Leopard 2 Tanks as the Marines zeroed their weapon systems.

Lloyd talked about the integration and working alongside the Norwegian Army, “They know they can rely on us and we can rely on them.”

The mix of forces provided insight into different capabilities as well as similarities.

“It is important for us to train with our allies and see how the equipment works in this environment,” said Norwegian Army 1st Lt. Nagnus Babsvik, the tank platoon commander with Telemark Battalion. “This week, we have shown an American tank platoon how we operate."

While in Rena, the Marines conducted an ice driving course, testing their maneuverability skills on the icy Norwegian terrain. 

“We don’t get this kind of training on Camp Lejeune,” said Lloyd. “Driving in the snow and hills is something we never do at Camp Lejeune, being out there and learning how to drive in very slick conditions was fun to do.”

The Combined Arms Company is comprised of multiple vehicles with multiple capabilities, including amphibious assault vehicles, M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks and light armored vehicles. 

“If we were ever to be a combined unit, we all know the limitations and capabilities of the weapon systems that we have. We’d have the same idea of how we train and how we fight,” said Lloyd.

“Telemark Battalion operates in this environment quite frequently,” said Babsvik. “It’s a good thing that the Marines can come here and learn from us.”

The Marines and Norwegian Army are working together as part of Exercise Cold Response, a joint NATO and allied country exercise comprised of 12 countries and approximately 16,000 troops.