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    Above the Arctic Circle, Infantry Marines Are Improvising to Battle Harsh Conditions as Part of NATO Force

    Above the Arctic Circle, Infantry Marines Are Improvising to Battle Harsh Conditions as Part of NATO Force

    ALTA, — A platoon commander barked at his Marines to get on the M240 machine gun and scan their sectors. The sun poked through sparse clouds and bounced off compact snow as they squinted across a sprawling Arctic landscape. Parts of their weapons were wrapped with white athletic tape to ward off enemy eyes and to protect their skin from contact freeze.

    Nestled between two snow-laden ridges was 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines' tactical assembly area, a position that units take as they make final preparations for an operation. It was bisected by a column of snowmobiles and Norwegian Bandvagn tracked vehicles. The infantry Marines there, along with their Norwegian counterparts, were getting ready to take a defensive posture miles away in the High North.

    It was a training exercise, but the risks were real. The Marines who had been working up to this deployment since November had undergone extensive cold-weather training, thanks in part to their allies. Cold plunges and ski patrols were all part of the official train-up to Nordic Response 2024, a multinational exercise meant to flex power toward , especially in light of its full-scale invasion into Ukraine two years ago.

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    It was here — roughly 150 miles from the Russian border, as the crow flies — that the Marine spirit was on display. In addition to their…

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