As expected, 300 members of the US Marine Corps landed at Værnes airport in Trondheim on Monday, part of a so-called Marine Rotation Force Europe. Their leader, Colonel Douglas Bruun, said it was “outstanding” to be in Norway and he thought the January weather was “perfect.”
“The snow and cold weather is exactly what we’re here for, to train and learn to ski and what it’s like to live in such an environment,” Bruun told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). The Marines on board a United Airlines 747 came from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
They’re the first batch of US soldiers due to train in six-month rotations in what defense officials have defended and downplayed as ordinary training among allies. It has upset Russian officials, however, who view having US soldiers on Norwegian soil on an ongoing basis as a provocation.
Many Norwegians aren’t welcoming the US troops either: “Norway is contributing to building up tension and creating a less secure world,” complained local Trøndelag resident Jens Frøseth to NRK. He was among demonstrators in place at Værnes even before the US jet full of Marines touched down.