News: From cold to freezing, Marines head to the Arctic Circle
Story by Lance Cpl. Marcin Platek
INDIANAPOLIS— A cold Sunday afternoon breeze here gave Marines of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, a preview of things to come.
Company K, consisting of 173 Marines, set out to Trondheim, Norway, March 4 for Exercise Cold Response 12.
“Cold Response demonstrates the broad capabilities of the Marines in the SMCR [Selected Marine Corps Reserve] and validates our ability to operate in all climates,” said Capt. Nickoli Johnson, commanding officer of Company K, based out of Terre Haute, Ind.
The multinational invitational exercise will focus on cold weather maritime and amphibious operations, special and ground operations, and interoperability of expeditionary forces.
The participants will be exposed to new technologies, applications and concepts that will inform future war-fighting capabilities.
More importantly, the exercise will help develop the Marines into well-rounded warfighters in cold weather conditions.
“It will really highlight the small unit leadership within the company and focus on the discipline within the fire team and squads,” said 1st Sgt. Anthony Loftus, first sergeant for Company K.
“Not only we’ll be fighting the opposition, but we are also going to have to face the cold weather elements of the Arctic Circle and all the friction that comes with it,” said Johnson.
Small unit leaders will really be tested here, said Loftus.
“They’re really going to have to step up and take care of their Marines by making sure they have drinkable water, warm food and hot wets for them,” he said. The constant situational awareness in these conditions is important as the difficult environment can present Marines with such problems as frostbite, hypothermia and reduced weapon effectiveness.
Coming from winter conditions of Terre Haute to Arctic conditions in Norway, Marines of Company K will get an opportunity to train with other allied nations.
CR12, held March 4-24, will include 16 NATO nations and will involve approximately 16,000 troops. It will emphasize Marine Corps and NATO partnership and abilities of U.S. forces to seamlessly integrate with its allies.