American Marines deployed to Norway earlier this year learned how to survive in brutal arctic conditions, even learning how to slaughter reindeer and drink their blood for energy.
While the concept of slaying a Cervidae, harvesting its meat and drinking its blood might not come as anything new to the seasoned hunter, the skill of killing, preparing and utilizing such an animal’s resources isn’t exactly something universally taught in the average American household.
Deployed to Norway in January to a base near Trondheim, the 200 or so Marines earned their Navy Arctic Service Ribbon in recognition of their hard work during the NATO Joint Viking exercise, which involved American, Norwegian and British forces.
“There’s a lot of ribbons you don’t have to do s*** to get,” said Marine Corps Forces Command Lieutenant General John Wissler told Military.com. “This ain’t one of them. As a Marine Corps, we’ve been very used to operating in sort of jungle and desert environments, but we’re not as good at operating in Arctic environments as we need to be.”
Since then, Wissler said the Marines have more than exceeded expectations in the frigid conditions, proving themselves in the unforgiving Arctic.
An effort to best prepare to defend Norway against foreign invasion, the US has some irons in the Norwegian fire- the US has kept large weapons caches stored in Norwegian caves for some time.
Naturally, the Russians have criticized the Joint Viking exercise as training to defend Norway from Russian aggression. However, Norwegian Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide has defended the exercises, claiming they’re not directed at any particular country but rather designed to defend the country.
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