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Norway cancels major exercise involving 1,000 US Marines amid coronavirus concerns

U.S. Marines move through the forest on a patrol during Exercise Reindeer II in Setermoen, Norway, in November 2020. The Marine Corps is assessing what to do with 1,000 Marines who are in Norway for a large training exercise which has been canceled amid concerns about an increase in coronavirus cases in the country.

PATRICK KING/U.S. MARINE CORPS

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 27, 2021

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The Marine Corps is assessing what to do with 1,000 Marines who recently arrived in Norway for a large training exercise, which was canceled because of concerns about an increase in coronavirus cases in the country.

Norwegian Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen on Tuesday announced that Exercise Joint Viking had been called off.

“We are working closely with our Norwegian military counterparts to determine the next steps with our Marines who are currently deployed to Norway,” Maj. Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway, Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa spokesman, said in a statement.

Some 1,000 Marines and sailors arrived in Norway earlier this month for Arctic warfare training. The Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based Marines are part of a rotational force that trains with the Norwegian military and other NATO allies.

The coronavirus pandemic has complicated military training efforts in Europe for nearly a year. Numerous exercises have been canceled or curtailed, including the Marine-led Cold Response Exercise in Norway.

That exercise, which involved 1,500 U.S. troops and about 15,000 from other countries, was cut short in March, near the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

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