Immediate Response 24: US Military Convoy Exits Sweden and Enters Finland in 550-Mile Journey in the North

Fra operasjon under Immediate Response i Nord-Sverige

Some of the vehicles have been transported by railway from Narvik in Northern Norway to Haparanda, Sweden, during the exercise Immediate Response. The journey continued from there to Finland. (Photo: Anja Reimers / the Swedish Armed Forces)

Several hundred US soldiers and military vehicles have moved from Narvik to Finland through Northern Sweden for Immediate Response 24. "This is the first time Sweden conducts host nation support as a NATO ally. Through supporting our allies from the US forces, we support the entire alliance's operative ability," says Commander of the Swedish Northern Military Region.

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US Army forces and military equipment have moved via roads and railway in a tactical road march from Northern Norway to Finland via Northern Sweden for the military exercise Immediate Response 24. 

As reported by High North News, several hundred US vehicles and containers arrived in the Port of Narvik in Northern Norway on April 24th with the cargo ship "Arc Integrity." The equipment largely belongs to the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team from the US' 10th Mountain Division, which resides in Louisiana.

Since its arrival, the force and equipment have moved by road, and some also by railway, through Northern Sweden. About 1,600 US Army soldiers and 200 vehicles have been involved.

The Swedish Armed Forces now inform that the final US vehicles have crossed the border to Finland, and the supporting units have returned to their home departments.

Humvee tilhørende 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division

Military vehicles of the type Humvee belonging to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. This force will be involved in the military exercise Northern Forest in Finland later in May. (Photo: Spc. Samuel Signor / 21st Theater Sustainment Command, US Army)

Host nation support as NATO member

With this, Sweden has, for the first time as a NATO ally, provided host nation support to a massive movement of an American force in the relevant, tactical road march from the Norwegian border through Norrbotten to the Finnish border.

"This is the first time Sweden has provided host nation support as a NATO ally. Through supporting our allies from the US forces, we support the entire alliance's operative ability," says Colonel Lars Karlsson, Commander of the Swedish Northern Military Region, in a press release from the Armed Forces. 

Host nation support

Host nation support is about solving all the practical matters for foreign forces to operate or move through Sweden safely. That includes a.o. protection, guarding, escorting, and traffic control, writes the Swedish Armed Forces.

"The cooperation has worked"

During the movement through Sweden, the staff at the Northern Military Region has been responsible for the operation. At the established command center, however, several other units and representatives have also been part of the coordination, including civil authorities, as well as cooperation officers from the US and Finland.

Colonel Karlsson highlights that Sweden's ability to provide host nation support has worked very well.

"We have seen that our live plans are working. However, the Northern Military Region has not managed this only on its own. We have done this with other units from the Armed Forces and other civilian actors in the total defense. Together, we have contributed to NATO's collective deterrence and ability to defend the alliance's member countries," says Karlsson.

"I am overwhelmed by the support the Swedish Armed Forces have provided us," emphasizes Lt. Col. Robin Eskelson, Commander of the 95th Combat Sustainment Support Batallion, which has been based in Boden, Northern Sweden, during the operation.

"Working with all units has worked great, and I am proud and honored that we were the first force to cooperate with Sweden as a new NATO ally," Eskelson adds.

Fra operasjonen under Immediate Response i Norrbotten

From the left: Lt. Col. Robin Eskelson of the US Army. Eskelson is the Commander of the 95th Combat Sustainment Support Batallion, based in Boden during Immediate Response. From the right: Col. Lars Karlsson, Commander of the Northern Military Region, responsible for the operation during Immediate Response in Sweden. (Photo: Jens Åkerlund / the Swedish Armed Forces)

To Finnish exercise

The US soldiers who have moved through the Cap of the North will participate in the Northern Forest exercise, beginning in Finland at the end of May.

"It's a valuable training opportunity to be able to connect Immediate Response to the Finnish Army’s national Northern Forest 24 exercise. A successful logistical operation through Norway and Sweden as well as host nation support in northern Finland supported by the Finnish Defence Forces’ Logistics Command is proof of our collective ability to receive transatlantic reinforcement of allied troops and the ability of NATO to project land power anytime, anywhere," says Lt. General Pasi Välimäki, Commander of the Finnish Army, in a press release from the US Army Europe and Africa.

"We are eager and excited to be able to train with and learn from our Nordic Allies, including NATO's two newest members," concludes Major General Greg Anderson, commanding general of the 10th Mountain Division.

Immediate Response

Immediate Response is one of the three exercises that constitute Defender 24.

The exercise focuses on the strategic deployment of US-based forces and interoperability with partners and allies. The aim is to test the plans for moving units from North America to Northern Europe to strengthen the defense of the Cap of the North.

Immediate Response will last until the end of May and involve more than 10,000 US soldiers and over 12,700 soldiers from more than 12 allied countries and partners.

A number of exercise activities are taking place in several European countries during Defender 24.

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