News: 2nd Supply Bn. bonds with Norwegians, international forces during Cold Response 2014
Story by Lance Cpl. Sullivan Laramie
VAERNES GARRISON, Norway - Rain turned to snow as temperatures dropped below freezing and service members from different nations came together to train for arctic operations during Cold Response 2014.
The Norwegian-led exercise prepared more than 15,000 troops from 16 countries for support and combat operations in harsh conditions while working together to create stronger bonds between the allied forces.
“This is a historic deployment that we have been a part of,” said Lt. Col. Jesse A. Kemp, the commanding officer of 2nd Supply Bn. “Everybody in 2nd Supply Bn. should be proud of what they’ve done. Our Marines and sailors were stretched from the Arctic Circle all the way to Vaernes and occupied seven separate locations simultaneously. That speaks volumes about the small-unit leadership and mission orientation each and every one of the servicemembers had.”
The battalion provided logistical support for 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division and partner nations in the 2,600-square mile training area with the help of a logistics combat element, or LCE, integrated with Norwegian soldiers from the Host Nation Support Battalion during the exercise. The LCE gave Marines, sailors and soldiers from a multitude of nations access to food, supplies and maintenance support.
“We would not have been so successful had it not been for our Norwegian counterparts and the support they gave us,” said Kemp. “Everyone needs to realize we were practicing the Reinforcement of Norway mission. This is a team effort; this is not about the United States Marine Corps, it’s about partner nations in a strategic partnership that is unlike any other in the Marine Corps.”
Some of the servicemembers from 2nd Supply Bn. and HNSB commenced joint training before Cold Response began, used that experience and improved camaraderie during the exercise.
“We all took something valuable out of it,” said Sgt. James J. Cassidy, a Philadelphia native and military policeman with 2nd Supply Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 25, 2nd Marine Logistics Group. “It made us able to accept change. The military is a tight brotherhood and … when you get a group of MPs, no matter what nation they’re from, we have a certain bond because we understand [each other].”
MPs with 2nd Supply Bn. were attached to the Multinational Military Police Battalion, which formed from service members from nine nations to conduct law enforcement operations during Cold Response and ensure the safety of military personnel and civilians in and around the training areas.
Medical personnel from 2nd Supply Bn. and HNSB stayed with international forces to keep everyone safe and provide routine and emergency services before, during and after Cold Response 14.
“It’s been great working with the Americans,” said Kristine Halvorsen, a Stavanger, Norway, native and ambulance squad leader with Bandvagn Company, HNSB. “There are some differences in how we work, so it’s been interesting to exchange experiences. We’ve done this before, but for a lot of us it was a long time ago. This was a review, and it refreshed a lot that we haven’t used in a while.”
Other missions completed by 2nd Supply Bn. included a food-supply convoy for British Royal Marines, pickup services for broken down vehicles and integration with BV Co. to provide transportation for 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines.
“It has not been since 1999 that 2nd MLG has completed the reception, staging, onward-movement and integration mission in addition to the exercise up north,” said Kemp. “The fact that we have put this much effort into it is historic. Every one of the Marines and sailors who participated in [Cold Response] came away better trained in arctic training and a better understanding of our Norwegian brothers and sisters, with whom we would fight beside.”
Kemp said he expects Cold Response 2016 will be better and that the integration of 2nd Supply Bn. and HNSB during the most recent exercise will make that possible.
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