Dec. 4 (UPI) -- A six-week Arctic training exercise by a U.S. Marines battalion ended successfully this week, the Marine Corps Forces Europe announced Friday.
The 3rd Battalion of the 6th Marine Regiment, the current contingent of the Marines' Rotational Force-Europe, quarantined in Norway for two weeks and then participated in Exercise Reindeer II with Norwegian Army troops.
The intensive exercise involved cold-weather and mountain warfare, survival and field training in rugged Arctic conditions. About 300 U.S. Marine and Navy personnel were involved.
"We have learned a lot from our time here in northern Norway," said Lt. Col. Ryan Gordinier, battalion commander. "For the Marines and sailors, they have learned how to survive, thrive, and fight in the beginning of the arctic winter."
The unit is known as the "Teufelhunden Battalion" after the German term for "devil dog," an affectionate sobriquet for U.S. Marines.
Rotations of the MRF-E, in which troops are replaced at six-month intervals, are scheduled to return to Norway several times in 2021, beginning next month with a force of about 1,000.
"I look forward to the return of the Marines in January," said Brigader Pal Berglund, commander of the Norwegian Army's Brigade North. "Our cooperation increases NATO's interoperability and secures common interests. Winter training in Norway is rough and it's a great opportunity to increase your skills."
In September, U.S. Navy ships joined British and Norwegian counterparts for maritime exercises above the Arctic Circle in the Barents Sea.