An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Photo Information

U.S. Marines with 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing serve themselves food alongside NATO allies and partners during Exercise Nordic Response 24 at Andenes, Norway, March 14, 2024. Exercise Nordic Response is designed to enhance military capabilities and allied cooperation in high-intensity warfighting scenarios under challenging arctic conditions, while providing U.S. Marines unique opportunities to train alongside NATO allies and partners. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by 2nd Lt. Duncan Stoner)

Photo by 2nd Lt. Duncan Stoner

Together around the table: a joint, allied kitchen of Exercise Nordic Response 24

21 Mar 2024 | 2nd Lt. Duncan Stoner 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing

U.S. Marines with 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) showcase their interoperability by partnering with Norwegian kitchen staff and U.S. Army messmen to prepare and serve three meals a day, seven days a week, to support personnel operating in the Arctic for Exercise Nordic Response 24 at the Andoya Air Force Base, Norway.

The Andoya Air Force Base was one of three primary base locations the 2nd MAW operated out of during the exercise. The base hosted U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornets assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 312, U.S. Marine Corps KC-130J Super Hercules aircraft assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 252, ground-enabler and support personnel and equipment with Marine Wing Support Squadron (MWSS) 273 and Marine Wing Communications Squadron (MWCS) 28, and various aircraft belonging to NATO allied and partnered nations.

A total of nearly 600 individuals from the U.S., Norway, Denmark, Finland, France and the United Kingdom convened daily in the chow hall on the base to eat.

To support them, a team of 16 U.S. Marines with MWSS-273, VMFA-312, and MWCS-28; U.S. Army Soldiers with the 55th Quartermaster Company; and civilian Norwegian kitchen staff navigated logistical challenges and limited resources and equipment to provide a complementary menu of American and Norwegian cuisine to the visitors of the chow hall.

“It was 24/7 operations to prepare, serve and clean up breakfast, lunch and dinner,” said U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Rebeca Juarez, one of the lead food-service Marines with MWSS-273. “The Norwegian kitchen staff were really polite, and we were very grateful to have them on board to help.”

“The U.S. Marines are nice people,” said Tommy Troan, the lead Norwegian chef in the chow hall, when asked about the integration between the U.S. Marines and Norwegian kitchen staff. “It’s good to see the different cultures we have. It works well together.”

The chow hall served more than 1,800 meals a day, seven days a week, fueling exercise participants for operations in the Arctic. Specifically, the food-service team enhanced unitized group rations by adding more items to the buffet-style food line for additional calories, ensuring that personnel had the energy they needed to operate in the challenging, arctic weather.

“We provided a menu with more calories, more options and more hot items to keep everyone warm,” said Juarez. “The Norwegian kitchen staff knew that we weren’t used to the weather, and they helped us out by providing all these extra items that we needed like vitamin D.”

Juarez spoke proudly about how integration with the Norwegian kitchen staff increased the number of visitors of the chow hall.

“In past experiences, Marines will usually go off base to get food. Out here, my headcount has been high the whole time, showing that the Marines enjoy the food, they’re saving money and they’re happy,” Juarez explained.

Speaking more on morale, Juarez said, “When you provide good meals with a good attitude, Marines will look forward to going to work and to their next meal.”

The food served was a significant highlight for exercise participants.

“The integrated chow hall has been outstanding. The mix between the Norwegian and American food on the line has highly impressed everyone across the different nations that have eaten at the chow hall,” said U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Joseph Franco, assistant camp commandant for the Marines on the base. “I can say that I have looked forward to each and every meal during my time here.”

The integrated chow hall was not only an example of how U.S. Marines can operate logistically with NATO allies and partners to support arctic operations, but also a symbol of friendship, interoperability between NATO countries, and the sharing of culture and traditions that occurred throughout Exercise Nordic Response 24.

“I enjoy being a food-service Marine, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to support this exercise with my team. Being able to experience a new culture and work hand in hand with other nations was a really great experience,” Juarez stated in closing. “Also knowing that we collectively were able to make a tremendous difference across the board was definitely rewarding.”

2nd Marine Aircraft Wing