Distinguished Visitor Day marks official start of Exercise Cold Response 16
By Lance Cpl. Brianna Gaudi, II Marine Expeditionary Force
NAMSOS, Norway -- NATO allies and partner nations gathered assets and personnel to present to distinguished visitors during Exercise Cold Response 16, March 1, 2016.
Distinguished Visitor Day provided high-ranking personnel from all 13 participating countries an overview of the scope, intent and capabilities achieved through integration of NATO allies and partners nations.
DV day included an exercise overview, tours of Norwegian naval vessels and a fly-over featuring a U.S. Air Force B-52 escorted by two Norwegian F-16 fighters. A static display of troops, vehicles and weapons representing participants provided a close-up view and subject matter experts to answer questions about capabilities and how they will be integrated during Cold Response.
“The display provides each nation with the ability to demonstrate the interoperability between our nations’ gear and see the similarities and differences of how they operate on the battlefield together,” said Capt. Matthew Heath, company commander of the U.S Army’s Destined Company, 2nd Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade.
Sharing information among NATO allies and partners enables and reinforces collective defense capabilities.
“I think what’s most important is that we show we are reliable partners to all our NATO comrades,” said Maj. Laurens Reinders, commanding officer of the Dutch Army’s 43rd Brigade Reconnaissance Squadron. “We have to work together to make a stronger bond.”
More than 15,000 troops will work together, learn from each other and sustain and strengthen partnerships, operational capabilities, and coordination during the cold-weather training.
“Anytime we do something outside the box, it strains some of our systems,” said Heath. “When we do an exercise like this, we become more efficient and become more comfortable with our allies.”
The exercise will provide the countries time to identify challenges and overcome them by capitalizing on combined strengths and cooperation.
“My desired end state of Cold Response is to better understand how to work with each other and continue to do that in the future,” said Reinders.