NAMDALSEID, Norway - In the midst of an important humanitarian endeavor, a group of Marines are embarking on a diplomatic mission of the greatest importance- communicating with the future of a nation.
Some reserve Marines from Marine Air Ground Task Force 25 visited with students at a local Norwegian school during exercise Battle Griffin 2005.
During the visit, the Namdalseid Skole, or Namdalseid School, staff and students held a forum for Marines to answer any questions the students might have wanted to ask the foreign visitors.
"(The visit) was very unusual for me," said Namdalseid 10th grader Ingrid Torring. "I'd never met an American before and I didn't know what they would be like. The only Americans I knew about were those I saw on television or in the movies, but the ones I met turned out to be very nice and friendly."
The students asked a variety of questions, from how one joined the Marine Corps to what kinds of music they listened to.
"I wanted to learn about some of (the Marines') equipment and how it is to live out in the woods for a long time," said 10th grader Magnhild Bogseth. "I asked how many countries they had been to and what they thought of Norway."
The students weren't the only ones who learned something new.
"It was interesting to meet a person from another culture," said Lance Cpl. Dan R. Ackart, an assaultman with Weapons Plt., Echo Co., 2nd Bn., 25th Marines. "It amazed me how similar to us they were. I expected them to be completely different, but most of the students spoke English and were just like kids back in the States."
"My Marines have developed a respect for Norway's cold weather," said MAGTF-25 sergeant major, Sgt. Maj. Patrick E. Anderson. "But talking to the Norwegians helps them respect the people themselves, which is always important when you're in someone else's country. It helps (Norway and the U.S.) pull together as a team."