CAMP GRAYLING, Mich. -- Marines with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve participated in exercise Arctic Eagle at Camp Grayling, Michigan, from April 4-14, 2016.
More than 300 Reserve Marines joined the 81st Troop Command of the Indiana National Guard and the Danish Home Guard to serve as the Task Force Protection team during the exercise. The Task Force Protection team worked together to prepare offensively and defensively for possible national crises in arctic regions across the world.
“The purpose of the training is to exercise the Marine Forces Reserve’s ability to plug into a defense support to civil authorities mission in times of extreme crisis inside the United States,” said Lt. Col. Michael D. McCarthy, commanding officer of 3rd Bn., 25th Marine Reg.
With an augment of the Danish Home Guard, the Marines were able to key in on the benefits of a multinational exercise while leveraging local resources available in the United States.
“This gives us the opportunity to exchange tactics, techniques and procedures with the Danish Home Guard,” McCarthy said. “It gives the younger Marines an opportunity to do things they’ve never done before like meet foreign countries and exchange culture.”
The Reserve Marines, as a part of the joint bilateral task force, learned from the Danish Home Guard and conducted simulated military scenarios similar to situations they could face in cold regions.
“The Marines will be tasked to provide critical infrastructure defense of a pipeline in Alaska,” McCarthy said. “The Marines will augment the Army and the Danish Home Guard as they are called upon to protect a pipeline under terrorist threat.”
During the two weeks, the Marines encountered the advantages and disadvantages of working with a foreign military.
“My team had to overcome a slight language barrier,” said Cpl. Benjamin A. McClure, team leader for Co. I, 3/25. “All and all, the experience was great with the Danes for me and the other Marines.”
In addition to the communication barrier, the Danes had to learn the Marines’ methods before conducting live-fire drills.
“Tactically, the Danish were different in the way they chose to advance,” McClure said. “They do things a little differently and a little bit slower. Overall, our tactics became very similar to the Danish Home Guard.”
Sgt. Frederik Muller, a team leader in the Danish Home Guard, explained that the training has given the Danes opportunities to learn about the US military.
“We learned from your Army instructors and your Marine instructors,” Muller said. “We do it a little different from you guys, and you guys do it a little different from us, so we share information and get better.”
The Task Force Protection team experienced the full training by balancing the cold weather conditions and protecting the simulated pipeline. The exercise moved from Camp Grayling to the Combined Arms and Collective Training Facility 30 miles away to finish their training with simulated urban terrain combat.
The exercise increased the knowledge of the Marines, Danes, and soldiers on how to respond to national threats while also being pushed physically in constant snow and below freezing temperatures.