Gen. Richard D. Clarke, Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, visited Evenes and Narvik, Norway March 25 and 26 as part of a routine, regional circulation through Europe.
Clarke met with Norwegian Chief of Defence Gen. Eirik Kristoffersen, Maj. Gen. Torgeir Gratrud, Commander of Norway’s Special Operations Command, along with U.S. and Norwegian special operations service members participating in Norwegian-led Exercise Cold Response 2022.
Clarke’s visit followed the March 18 crash of a U.S. MV-22B Osprey that killed four U.S. Marines.
“I want to thank the Norwegian military, our other NATO allies, and civilian first responders who supported recovery efforts of the U.S. Marines who were tragically lost last week,” Clarke said. “We grieve for their loss, but we deeply appreciate the assistance provided by Gen. Kristoffersen and the Norwegian defense team. The combined level of effort and concern on display during these recovery efforts is a testament to the long-standing friendship established through years of working together with Norway and the rest of our NATO allies.”
Norway formally announced Cold Response in June. The biennial training includes over 30,000 troops from 25 NATO ally and partner nations. About 3,000 of those troops are from the U.S., including special operations elements.
“I also want to thank our Norwegian partners for the chance to see first-hand how our combined special operations forces train and perform in extreme environments,” Clarke said. “Cold Response is an opportunity to test how we function in remote, arctic locations where we have to integrate large forces and diverse capabilities. This kind of exercise allows our combined force to make strides toward improving readiness and interoperability in difficult terrain.”