Three-hundred Marines who deployed to a Norweigan base with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines as part of Marine Rotational Force-Europe will be eligible to receive an obscure service ribbon given to those who complete deployments in Arctic regions, according to new reports.
The Marines were able to participate in extremely cold weather training, not unlike similar training they would see in the mountains of Bridgeport, California, but even colder still. They even trained in the Arctic Circle for three weeks, and later trained with British troops in a UK-led exercise known as Joint Viking. Marines must spend, at minimum, 28 days training above the Arctic Circle to even be eligible the ribbon.
Marine learn a plethora of survival and cold weather skills while deployed to the region; from making water out of snow and preparing freeze-dried food, to staying alive in cold environments with little gear. They also learn how to make use of the many different items in the Marine Corps cold weather arsenal.
The commander of Marine Corps Forces Command (MARFORCOM), Lt. Gen. John Wissler, awarded the ribbon to Marines in a short ceremony.
The ribbon is not given often because the most experience many Marines get is in a training operation known as Cold Response in Norway, which lasts two weeks and does not allow Marines the time necessary to be eligible for the award.
Lance Cpl. Cal Cushing-Hurley, 20, said to Military.com in an interview that he was proud to have earned the right to wear that ribbon. “Not many Marines have it, and not many Marines will have it,” he said. “It’s good to say I was able to accomplish the task.”