NAMDALSEID, Norway - Instability and unrest has erupted in a European nation. Social and ethnic tensions divide two ethnic groups and the situation has reached a boiling point. The United Nations Security Council has approved a resolution to send a multinational force to stabilize the region and to keep the peace.
The situation sounds like a chapter from a history book, but it's the same scenario faced by the multinational task force participating in exercise Battle Griffin 2005.
Marines from the Albany, NY-based Fox Co., 2nd Bn., 25th Marine Regiment are on the theoretical frontlines as part of Marine Air Ground Task Force 25, who joins 13,000 troops from 15 countries for the exercise.
"The climate (in Norway) is one of the harshest we've seen," said Sgt. Sean Carvajal, platoon commander, 2nd Plt., Fox Co., 2/25. "There's lots of snow, lots of wind, and hardly any break from it. We've been to Iraq and seen one extreme, so now we're getting a taste of the polar opposite."
The Marines didn't just have to fight the weather, they had to be on the look out for surprises from all sides.
"We're doing (stability and security) operations as part of the field training exercise, and with SASO, you never know what to expect," said Carvajal. "One minute you could be manning a vehicle checkpoint and the next you could be in the middle of three dimensional block warfare."
For some Marines, Battle Griffin is the first time they participated in large-scale exercises.
"Before coming here, I expected it to be cold, and I was wrong," said Lance Cpl. Joseph J. Schiller, a rifleman with 2nd Plt., Fox Co., 2/25. "It's not cold, it's absolutely, uncomfortably freezing. This is the first time I've deployed and it was a bit of a shock. The combination of the weather, the different units, and the local culture is a lot to take in, but for some reason I'm having fun."
Battle Griffin is a Norwegian invitational exercise that allows the Marines Corps to test the interoperability of its tactics and systems with those of potential coalition partner nations.