U.S. Army Europe commander furthers American military ties to Norway

June 25, 2012

By U.S. Army Europe

U.S. Army Europe commander Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling and Norwegian Land Forces commander Maj. Gen. Per Sverre Opedal visit with Soldiers and commanders of the Norwegian North Brigade north of the Arctic Circle in Bardufoss. (U.S. Army photo)

HEIDELBERG, Germany – Last week U.S. Army Europe commander Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling became the first USAREUR commanding general to travel to Norway to meet with military and diplomatic leaders to further the U.S. military commitment to the region.

Hertling first visited Oslo, where he met with Norwegian Chief of Defence Gen. Harald Sunde to discuss current challenges in transforming militaries to face future threats, especially those relevant to the Nordic region.

While at the Ministry of Defence, Hertling was briefed on regional security affairs and discussed the Norwegian military’s training and operations to curb threats.

“This is my first visit to Norway, and I am truly impressed with the skill and competence they have developed in certain capababilties, such as intelligence, and even more importantly I'm impressed by their desire to create a noncommissioned officer corps in order to establish a truly professional force to meet the needs of the collective and regional security environment,” said Hertling.

In Oslo Hertling also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Norway Barry White and the embassy country team, who provided a briefing on Norway's military, economic and political issues.

Later Hertling and Norwegian Land Forces Commander Maj. Gen. Per Sverre Opedal traveled north of the Arctic Circle to visit with Soldiers and commanders of the Norwegian North Brigade in Bardufoss. After assessing the challenging training environment, where temperatures hovered near freezing on the first day of summer, the commanders viewed a training demonstration by the 2nd Infantry Battalion.

Hertling said he was perticulary impressed by the women in the Norwegian infantry who are fighting alongside male counterparts in what he said was “an incredibly tough training environment.”

During the visit, Hertling and Opedal reiterated the importance of looking forward to a post-Afghanistan security environment in 2014 and ensuring that the two armies take lessons learned from current operations and apply them to future training. The generals also discussed building their partnership and training exchanges, including expanding training opportunities at USAREUR’s Joint Multinational Training Center in Grafenwoehr, Germany, and the possibility of sending USAREUR soldiers north to devlop partnerships and training with the Norwegians.

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