Marines are conducting raids alongside Swedish marines on a handful of the more than 30,000 wooded islands, islets and crags of Sweden’s shoreline.
For decades U.S. Marines have touted their partnership and training in Norway to counter any Russian aggression against the Scandinavian country.
But the bilateral military exercise known as “Archipelago Endeavor” began in 2018 with a company of Marines from Marine Rotational Force Europe 18.1, according to an official release.
The 2021 training puts U.S. Marines from 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, hip-to-hip with Swedish counterparts for wooded island hopping in the archipelago area of the nation.
In 2018, then-1st Lt. Daniel Burton, 3rd platoon commander for Marine Rotation Force–Europe 18, said that it was the first integrated company exercise between Marines and Swedes. They trained with Swedish marines from the 2nd Swedish Amphibious Assault Battalion.
During that training, Marines fired machine guns, 81 mm mortars, small arms and the Carl Gustaf 84 mm recoilless rifle, Burton said.
Those training sessions were conducted on the island of Uto, Hårsfjärden, Sweden, according to the release.
The Marines went back in 2019 and are in the midst of the three-week exercise now.
“This is the land of opportunity when it comes to amphibious operation,” said then-Capt. David Smith II, Bravo Company commander Marine Rotation Force–Europe 19.2 during the 2019 exercise.
In each of the three evolutions, Marines have used Combat Boat-90 assault craft, boats developed specifically for the Swedish navy and its country’s defense.
The craft works both for fast assault and coastal defense, according to the manufacturer, Dockstavarvet, a subsidiary of Saab.
Sweden, Norway, Greece, Mexico, Malaysia and the U.S. use the boat currently.
Combine the boat, some mortars, machine guns a few shoulder-fired rockets and a company of Swedish and U.S. Marines and you get quite a show, as a few Marine-produced video releases attest.
“These guys give us a lot of experience and they have the best terrain for doing what we do,” Smith said in 2019.
Beyond company live fires, Marines in 2021 also conducted a 3 km obstacle course with extended rope wall and water obstacles, 1st Lt. Paul Ortiz told Marine Corps Times.
The exercise began on Sept. 6 and is scheduled to end Sept. 28.
At the end of previous training exercises, Swedes have held the traditional burning of the unit’s regimental symbol the “Torlief.” The ceremony symbolizes strength and unity between the U.S. and Swedish marines.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.