SETERMOEN, Norway --
Sgt. Mitch Nordskog found himself above the Arctic Circle in Norway once again. Although this time he was personally invited by members of the Norwegian Army to instruct alongside them.
Nordskog, whose name is coincidentally Norwegian, is a Reconnaissance Marine with Force Reconnaissance Company (FORECON), 2d Reconnaissance Battalion, 2d Marine Division. He visited Norway on several occasions for cold-weather training, but this time his purpose was to help instruct Marines participating in the Norwegian Army’s Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) course from Feb. 3 to Feb 27, 2020.
“He did very well as an instructor and has been a huge asset in helping us work with the Marines through this experience,” said Norwegian Army Capt. Henrik, the officer in charge of the LRRP course.
The Norwegian Army conducts the LRRP to improve versatility and adaptiveness in harsh, cold-weather environments. The course consists of 21 consecutive days in the field and includes long movements on skis, cold-weather survival technique training, and live-fire ranges.
“The concept of the course is getting your routines down and maintaining yourself in the given environment for extended periods of time in austere conditions,” said Nordskog. “This experience is great for strengthening and making more cohesive units.”
In recent years, the Norwegians hosted two iterations of the LRRP for Marines before electing an American instructor. His performance as a student earned him recognition as honor graduate in 2019 and the subsequent decision to invite him to instruct future iterations.
“The Norwegians said it would be beneficial to have an American instructor,” said Nordskog. “They wanted someone who was confident and fully qualified for LRRP. So, when I was offered to come back as an instructor, I accepted.”
Having completed the course before, Nordskog was able to use his experience and knowledge to help the Marines brace the severe conditions. He worked with the Norwegians to improve the Marines’ lethality with skills such as ambush techniques in the snow, weapon maintenance, and maneuvering through snowy, mountainous terrain.
“The Norwegian instructors definitely gave me helpful tips on how to survive these conditions,” said Nordskog. “They have given me a plethora of information on how to adapt to the environment, and I try to pass that knowledge on to other Marines so they can become a stronger unit.”
The partnership between Norway and America continues to grow as the two militaries work together. Nordskog represents that statement and said training with the Norwegians has made his unit more combat efficient, which is the reason he was so eager to come back.
“Nord skog” is a Norwegian term that means north forest. Although Nordskog may not have instructed in the forest, he put his skills to use on northern mountains in Norway to strengthen FORECON’s combat effectiveness and continued building a bond with our Norwegian allies.