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By 1st Lt. Stephanie Downing
USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19), assigned to the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), and embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Special Operations Capable (SOC), arrived in Narvik, Norway for a scheduled port visit to enhance the U.S.-Norway relationship and demonstrate our continued commitment to our NATO Allies and Partners on Aug. 5, 2023.
"USS Mesa Verde and the 26th MEU(SOC) team is excited to visit Narvik, with its rich military history, and to work with Norwegian forces in order to increase our interoperability and increase our strategic partnership,” said Capt. Marc Davis, Commanding Officer, USS Mesa Verde.
While in port, Mesa Verde will off-load U.S. Marine Corps equipment and vehicles in support of a routine bilateral Norway training exercise, strengthening the relationship between the U.S., Norway, and NATO Allies and Partners.
“The Marines are excited to be here and eager to take part in our upcoming bilateral training with the Norwegian Armed Forces,” said Lt. Col. Josef H. Wiese, Executive Officer of the 26th MEU(SOC) and Bravo Command Officer in Charge, aboard the Mesa Verde. “The Marines and Sailors of the 26th MEU(SOC) are a forward deployed and ready crisis response force uniquely postured to integrate and train with allied and partner militaries while providing credible options in the case of crisis or emergency. The Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG)/MEU team is thankful to Norway for the opportunity to train alongside the Norwegian Armed Forces enhancing 26th MEU(SOC) readiness and proficiency in the challenging Arctic environment.”
The ARG/MEU team recently departed the East Coast of the United States for a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations to support maritime stability and security and defense of U.S., Allied, and Partner interests.
The 26th MEU(SOC) serves as one of the United States’ premier crisis response forces capable of conducting amphibious operations, crisis response, and limited contingency operations, to include enabling the introduction of follow-on forces and designated special operations, in support of theater requirements of the Geographic Combatant Commander. Coupled with the USS Bataan ARG, the 26th MEU serves as a premier stand-in force with a full complement of all-domain capabilities to operate persistently within the littorals or weapons engagement zones of an adversary.
The Bataan ARG and embarked 26th MEU(SOC), under the tactical command and control of Task Force 61/2, is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe area of operations, employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet to defend U.S., allied, and partner interests.
Headquartered in Naples, Italy, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.