Arctic Edge 24, a U.S. Northern Command exercise, brought together more than 400 special operations forces (SOF) to integrate, share lessons and refine their tactical effectiveness in diving operations, fast-roping from helicopters, snow mobile transits, long-range movements across the Arctic Circle, and a marquee event involving a fast-attack Submarine. These past few weeks of training epitomize an unwavering commitment to fortifying U.S. and Allied national security against potential aggression, echoing directives outlined in the National Defense Strategy and the National Strategy for the Arctic Region documents.

“Naval Special Warfare’s unique ability to conduct complex operations in the water column, and in maritime domains such as the Arctic, discourages aggression from potential adversaries,” said Capt. Bill Gallagher, Naval Special Warfare Group TWO Commodore. “Given the frequency with which we are training alongside our Allied partners and demonstrating our combined expertise in some of the most severe environments on the planet, we are sending a clear message about our warfighting ability and our preparedness to defend the homeland across the Arctic region.”

This marked the first-ever integration of SOF personnel, SOF aircraft, and snow mobiles coming together to conduct an operation with a submarine that surfaced that deep in the Arctic Circle.

In Kodiak Alaska, SEALs, Green Berets and MJK forces conducted multiple diving operations in water temperatures of 37 degrees Fahrenheit. Deploying from beach heads and small rubber boats, the team practiced pier-side vessel ship attacks, utilizing combat swimmer infiltration method with underwater navigation to target a training ship at the pier. The group also partnered with the U.S. Coast Guard where they refined techniques of fast-roping from an MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter under rainy conditions.

Further North in Utqiagvik, Alaska, the SEALs and MJK Commandos embraced the challenges associated with temperatures of -40 degrees Fahrenheit as they prepared for the culminating event with the US Submarine Force. Leading up to that event, they conducted snow mobile familiarization training, practiced clearing ice to create a helicopter landing zone and trained on cold weather survival drills, ensuring a successful SUB/SOF integration.

Additional training occurred throughout Alaska in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Kotzebue, and Greenland, with personnel from interagency partners at the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service, United States Marine Corps, Alaska National Guard, New York Air National Guard, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) among others.

The scenarios, simulated missions and sharing of best practices contributed to advancing the collective warfighting readiness, homeland defense and operational acumen of these elite forces in this extreme environment.

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