Bilde USMC

Winter instructors in record time

The training will equip the “Marines” with the skills to teach own forces in preparations for exercise Cold Response 2022 in Northern Norway.

- We give them completely basic Norwegian winter training, explains Arne Alexander Strand, master instructor at Centre of Excellence Cold Weather Operations.

This means everything from clothing and how to dress correct. Nutrition, treatment of cold weather injuries, use of equipment. Personnel must move tactically and efficiently in the mountains, and be ready to implement military operations in cold weather.

- In a larger perspective, it is those allies who will help us in the defence of Norway if there should be a need for it. Then we benefit from the fact that they can function under the conditions they will operate in, says Strand.

Easter weather?

The sun is shining over Øversjødalen this winter and offers classic Norwegian Easter weather. Exactly that phenomenon can be difficult to explain to someone who grew up in the American states where the temperature is rarely close to below zero.

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For the past 20 years, the Marine Corps has mainly trained in desert conditions, and most of them come from a warm climate, explains Lieutenant Traci Humphren in USMC.


Bring their own equipment

They have little experience with their own equipment. Their equipment and clothes are generally good. It is the Norwegian instructors' job to show them how the equipment works. 

 

This course is very important to us, so we can bec me instructors and give our own this experience.

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CAPTEIN DANIEL LILLIE, USMC.

During less than four weeks, the training is built stone upon stone. Ski lessons begin without poles on the flat football field. Next trip is herringbone uphill and a little downhill. One of the last things they do on the course is a longer trip/ operation with full pack, sledding, setting up camp and tactical manoeuvres.

- The progression is very good, given the time we have, says Strand.

Most important of all is to cope with the cold. This requires a slightly different mentality and structure to what a "Marine" is used to.

- We focus a lot on our attitudes and values, and the Norwegian method with a greater degree of care and care for each other. When the elements turn and there is bad weather, things happen fast. Then you must have a partner who takes care of you.

This is something the participants have realized.


When everyone is cold - we are all equal

- Here we are by first name, that is not at all how we do it in the Marine Corps. It calms us down, and we trust each other rather than one to decide. Out there, when everyone freezes, then we are all equal, Captain Lillie emphasizes.

After almost four weeks, the course is over, and the trip continues to Setermoen in inner Troms. Here awaits the real test when the main force of the U.S. Marine Corps joins Cold Response.