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    Leave It Better Than You Found It

    Leave It Better Than You Found It

    Photo By Capt. Larry Boyd | U.S. Marine Maj. Gen. David J. Furness, the commanding general of 2nd Marine Division,...... read more read more



    Story by 2nd Lt. Larry Boyd 

    2nd Marine Division

    Their mission was simple: deploy, employ, and redeploy. With this in mind, the Marines of II Marine Expeditionary Force began boarding planes as early as late September, 2018, in order to make their way to Norway for Exercise Trident Juncture 18. In the restrooms of one of those aircraft was a sign that read, ‘As common courtesy to those behind you, leave the place better than you found it.’ Unbeknownst to the Marines and Sailors of 2nd Marine Division, this became their final mission as they began plans for retrograde back to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, November 6, 2018.

    The initial mission was complete. The Marines had landed in Norway for NATO’s biggest military exercise since 2002, lasting from Oct. 25-Nov.7. In the beginning, the goal was to operate in cold weather, to practice interoperability alongside NATO Allies and partners, and to integrate knowledge and skills with the Norwegians who welcomed the Marines so openly.

    As the Marines began to demonstrate their ability to operate in cold weather and train to integrate seamlessly into the NATO Alliance, they took deliberate steps to ensure they were doing so with the host nation’s approval.

    “We really were prepared for action,” stated Kirsti Welander, mayor of the city of Oppdal. “We thought traffic would stop, that there would be a lot of noise, and we were concerned that somebody could be harmed.”

    During the conduct of Trident Juncture 18, the locals learned that the presence of Marines was completely safe and absolutely warranted. Maj. Gen. Furness , the commanding general of 2nd Marine Division, and his staff took time to meet with police chiefs, school administrators, and other local officials to ensure complete compliance with local regulations and standards.

    “I must highlight the fact that we had been very well informed in advance, both form U.S. Marines and the Norwegian Home Guard,” said Welander with a smile of approval. “I think this was a key-factor to make the presence of NATO-soldiers such a good experience.”

    The final task for the Marines of 2nd Marine Division was to pack everything they brought with them, close out the exercise, and leave no trace.

    “Just getting here was a miracle in itself after being hit by two hurricanes and the aftermath of it all,” said Furness, recalling recent destructive weather to hit the Carolinas.

    As the operation came to a close, and success was eminent, it became important to note “all the hard work done here in this beautiful country is for nothing, if we don’t leave here with this place being better than it was when we landed,” Furness stressed to his Marines during one of their morning meetings. Before long, the Marines participating in Trident Juncture 18 will have all left Norway. They take with them training, experience and lessons learned. The only remnants of their presence - the memories and smiles on the faces of the Norwegians and NATO Allies they’ve encountered along the way.



    Date Taken: 11.14.2018
    Date Posted: 11.19.2018 14:58
    Story ID: 300493
    Location: OPPDAL, 16, NO

    Web Views: 277
    Downloads: 0