U.S. Sailors and Marines from the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit joined Allied Nations in kicking off the U.S. Sixth Fleet-planned and executed exercise Northern Viking 2022 in Keflavik, Iceland, April 2.
NATO Allied Nations participating in NV22 include France, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the U.S. These combined forces will bring significant capabilities across the air, land and at-sea domains to a Joint and Coalition live exercise.
U.S. Navy and Marine Corps forces include units from the Kearsarge ARG and embarked 22nd MEU under the command and control of Task Force 61/2. The Kearsarge ARG includes the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship and Kearsarge ARG flagship USS Kearsarge, the San-Antonio class amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington and the Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall homeported in the U.S. state of Virginia.
“The Kearsarge ARG and 22nd MEU stand together with our NATO partners and Allies committed to a forward naval presence in the Sixth Fleet area of operations,” said Captain David Guluzian, commander of the Keasarge ARG and embarked Amphibious Squadron SIX. “Northern Viking is an opportunity to provide valuable interoperability experience across the NATO Alliance, emphasizing the importance of the Arctic and North Atlantic region through combined training in Iceland, a key NATO Ally critical to collective security.”
Embarked commands with the Kearsarge ARG include Amphibious Squadron SIX, Fleet Surgical Team 2, Tactical Air Control Squadron 22, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28, Assault Craft Unit 2, Assault Craft Unit 4, Naval Beach Group 2, Beach Master Unit 2 and the 22nd MEU.
“This exercise will provide critical training for the MEU and is a good opportunity to demonstrate the interoperability and effectiveness of the United States, Iceland and NATO Allied maritime forces,” said Col. Paul Merida, commanding officer, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. Col. Merida and his MEU team serve as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious missions across the full range of military operations. The 22nd MEU is based out of the U.S. state of North Carolina and includes the command element; the aviation combat element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron, 263 (Reinforced); the ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team 2/6, and the logistics combat element, Combat Logistics Battalion 26.
NV22 seeks to strengthen interoperability and force readiness between the U.S., Iceland and Allied Nations and enables execution of multi-domain command and control of joint and coalition forces in the defense of Iceland and the Sea Lines of Communication in the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom Gap. The exercise includes amphibious landings, expeditionary and construction capability, search and rescue, and humanitarian assistance with forces demonstrating skills in events across multiple domains, climates, and vignettes to enhance interchangeability and interoperability.
The Kearsarge ARG-MEU team is participating in NV22 in support of global maritime operations and security in support of Allied and partner interests in Europe and Africa. Amphibious ready groups and larger amphibious task forces provide military commanders a wide range of flexible capabilities including maritime security operations, expeditionary power projection, strike operations, forward naval presence, crisis response, sea control, deterrence, counter-terrorism, information operations, security cooperation and counter-proliferation, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.