NAMSOS, Norway -- Light Armored Reconnaissance Marines with Black Sea Rotational Force, Combined Arms Company, test their reconnaissance skills in a cold-weather environment during Exercise Cold Response 16 in central Norway, March 4, 2016.
“Being a part of BSRF, we (Combined Arms Company) have the opportunity to participate in Cold Response 16,” said 1st Lt. Grant McCloskey, a Light Armored Reconnaissance platoon commander with CAC. “We had the chance to cross-train with the Norwegians in Rena. Our counterparts gave us essential tips and tricks on how to survive in this cold-weather environment.”
By learning crucial cold-weather survival skills from their Norwegian counterparts, CAC Marines are able to apply those skills in a tactical environment when conducting route reconnaissance missions.
“As a Light Armored Reconnaissance unit, we go out and scout the area, looking for the enemy,” said Lance Cpl. Sanjay Lohar, a rifleman with BSRF. “We go on patrols to ensure the area our implemented defenses cannot see is clear.”
LAR is a mobilized reconnaissance unit that provides commanders with vital intelligence of the enemy by penetrating their lines and determining their strength, location and size. They set up defensive positions and push out patrols to establish forward observation posts in order to accomplish this mission.
“Before Cold Response even started, my platoon occupied a piece of land on high terrain that overlooked the valley,” said McCloskey. “As soon as we occupied the area, we set up defensively and fortified our positions, pushing out four daily patrols and a night patrol to scout the enemy.”
“What we do as foot-mobile patrols is we can fill those gaps the LAV’s cannot see,” said Lohar. “Our job is to scout the blind spots and clear the area if need be.”
Norway provides a unique training environment and challenges the Marines to not only do their jobs well, but to excel in an extreme environment.
“The training we received back stateside definitely prepared us for this, but the cold weather environment makes it challenging,” said McCloskey. “We can operate in any clime and place and when we are called to go, we can execute the mission and task at hand.”
Exercise Cold Response includes 13 NATO and partner nations and approximately 16,000 troops. The exercise provides a platform to refine collective crisis-response capabilities and the opportunity to learn from NATO partners.