Royal Marine commandos join US Marines in Iceland for new rescue mission training

ROYAL Marine commandos have braved sub-zero conditions during rescue mission training that could save lives on board the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers.

Thursday, 21st April 2022, 4:49 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd April 2022, 11:34 am

The elite troops have joined US Marines to stage helicopter raids to rescue downed pilots behind enemy lines in Iceland, as part of a major international exercise.

The rescue mission type is still a relatively new undertaking for the commandos, with its importance elevated by the deployments of the Royal Navy’s latest aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

A dedicated unit has been formed – Lima Company from 42 Commando based at Bickleigh near Plymouth – specifically for the mission, a unit which has trained extensively around the world, frequently making use of the expertise of the US Marines.

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Royal Marines from M Company, 42 Commando, said the training drills left them 'confident' they could handle any environment.

Lima Company embarked in assault ship USS Arlington, before flying into Iceland in Super Stallion helicopters.

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The training has left the elite unit ‘confident’ in its ability to undertake difficult missions in all environments, according to Lieutenant Sam Gorton of 42 Commando.

The 23-year-old said: ‘Conducting these exercises in Iceland proves the wider utility of our winter warfare training that we conduct in Norway.

U.S. Marines assigned to the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and Royal Marine Commandos assigned to M Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines execute a tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel exercise during Northern Viking 2022 on Keflavik Airbase, Iceland..

‘We aspire to conduct Joint Personnel Recovery training in every challenging environment, from the jungle to the urban, and after a full winter’s training in Norway and now Iceland we can confidently contribute to the Royal Navy’s presence in the Arctic.’

The training missions comes as the commandos take part in US military exercise, Northern Viking, alongside NATO allies including France, Germany, Norway, and Portugal.

Lt Gorton said: ‘Northern Viking has been a great opportunity to deepen our strong relationships with our US Marine Corps cousins.’

The commandos unit has remained in the Arctic Circle after being deployed to the region on HMS Prince of Wales as part of NATO training exercise Cold Warrior.

Northern Viking 22 strengthens force readiness between NATO allies to patrol and defend the far north Atlantic.
Lima Company embarked in assault ship USS Arlington – similar to the Royal Navy’s HMS Albion and Bulwark – from where they flew into Iceland in Super Stallion helicopters.
Fresh from a winter of training in northern Norway, the Royal Marines joined the USMC to launch missions from the USS Arlington to shore, to simulate the recovery of downed aircraft and personnel in the unforgiving conditions of Iceland.
Royal Marines from M Company, 42 Commando, take part in Joint Personnel Recovery (JPR) training alongside their USMC counterparts from 22 Marines in Iceland.