The strategic shift from the land wars in the Middle East to deterrence in Europe has seen the USMC focus on learning appropriate skills to operate against Russian forces if necessary in Northern European operations.
The strategic shift requires learning new skill sets for today’s Marines.
A recent video by USNI News provides an update on USMC training for Northern European conditions.
In article by Megan Eckstein published by USNI news on October 23, 2018, the training was highlighted.
Today’s sailors and Marines have grown proficient at operating in the heat and sands of the Middle East, but the bitter cold and jagged lava rocks of Iceland in October is a new challenge to most of them.
The U.S. military has placed a renewed importance on Europe, and Northern Europe in particular– a geography that a much smaller number of today’s sailors and Marines have first-hand experience in. U.S. Navy and Marine Corps officials acknowledge they have a lot to learn about operating in that part of the world, and they hope the ongoing Trident Juncture 2018 NATO exercise will help highlight areas that need improvement.
Rather than launching Marines ashore on the glassy waters of the Persian Gulf, the challenge for the naval team will be to a sail a three-ship amphibious ready group into a Norwegian fjord, launch helicopters for an air assault in the swirling winds the fjords can create, launch amphibious connectors to bring Marines ashore over the small islands and rocks of the Nordic archipelago, and then operate ashore for several days in the frigid weather.
Ahead of the live exercise in Norway, which runs Oct. 25 through Nov. 7, U.S. naval forces planned rehearsals to practice in the cold weather by themselves before linking up with 31 NATO allies and partners. The Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group and embarked Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit planned to conduct an amphibious landing and an air raid in Iceland that was observed by USNI News.
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