Cold response

NATO has successfully concluded a cold-weather training exercise, Exercise Cold Response 2016 (CDR 16), which involved 12 member nations and partner countries.

The exercise involved the land, maritime and aerial assets of 12 Nato and partner countries, more than 3,000 US service members and 6,500 members of the Norwegian armed forces.

The Norwegian-led CDR 16 aimed at training a multi-national force by engaging them into a joint and combined setting under challenging conditions and subsequently enhancing their interoperability and joint action.

“The coming together of nations to support a higher strategic alliance is always beneficial.”

During the exercise, the US crew joined forces with their Dutch and Norwegian counterparts and became a member of the Order of the Royal Blue Noses by crossing the Arctic Circle and witnessing the Northern Lights.

US Navy Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry commanding officer commander Michael Johnson said: "It’s always beneficial to know and understand how another country operates, especially in its own backyard.

"The coming together of nations to support a higher strategic alliance is always beneficial during an exercise that covers so many different operations."

The 186m-long vessel, Fort McHenry, with a displacement of approximately 16,000t, was deployed to the Cold Response Amphibious Task Group (ATG), led by the Dutch amphibious staff Royal Netherlands Marine Forces.

The vessel was carrying US Marines and equipment, including 16 amphibious assault vehicles, a landing craft utility, and various other support vehicles.

The ATG had also included two Dutch landing dock ships, the HNLMS (L801) Johan de Witt and HNLMS (L800) Rotterdam.

Image: USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) transits the Namsos Fjord in Norway during Exercise Cold Response 2016. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrew Murray/Released.