It’s not uncommon during deployment for Marines and sailors to get into trouble when ships pull into port for a bit of down time.
As was the case for the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s deployment when the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock New York docked in Gaeta, Italy, in April 2018, or when the UK’s newest aircraft carrier ported in Naval Station Mayport, Florida, in September, following weeks of traversing the Atlantic Ocean on its maiden voyage.
During those visits, alcohol was a key culprit that got Marines and sailors in hot water with commands. Excessive drinking and underage consumption of alcohol resulted in service members getting arrested or partaking in stupid games that in one case resulted in vandalism of property.
So imagine the shenanigans that occurred in Iceland following a media report from Iceland Magazine that bars in the capital city of Reykjavík were struggling to keep up with the demand of the heavy beer consumption of American service members in town for the NATO-led exercise Trident Juncture.
Well, surprisingly not a whole lot happened, at least for Marines with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, who ported in Iceland for training and preparation for the large-scale NATO exercise.
The Marines were on their best behavior.
Only one lance corporal was disciplined for bad behavior during the MEU’s stay in Iceland. According to a charge sheet obtained by Marine Corps Times, the Marine was charged with excessive drinking in violation of the MEU’s liberty policy and being wrongfully drunk and disorderly conduct.
The incident occurred on Oct. 18 in Reykjavík, the charge sheet detailed.
The Marine was busted down to private first class, placed on restriction for 60 days and lost a half months pay for two months.
The only other incident to befall the 24th MEU during Trident Juncture happened in Norway around Nov. 8, when a lance corporal “wrongfully misappropriated” a Norwegian medical kit. That Marine was also reduced in rank to private first class.
“Our Marines and Sailors also executed their liberty periods successfully thanks to the leadership of our noncommissioned officers," Capt. Clay Groover, a spokesman for the 24th MEU, told Marine Corps Times in an emailed statement. "We appreciate the hospitality of our hosts in Iceland and Norway as they graciously greeted us and made us feel welcome in their countries.”
NATO’s Trident Juncture was one of the largest NATO exercises in over a decade that saw thousands of U.S. and allied partners partake in cold weather training and exercises to prepare for war in the European high north against a near-peer threat.
“The 24th MEU accomplished their mission of deploying, employing, and redeploying as a sea-based MAGTF [Marine air-ground task force] in support of II MEF during Trident Juncture,” Groover added.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.