US soldiers get a day out in Lapland

US troops are currently drilling in Arctic Finland. (Luke Sharrett/Getty Images)

Finnish Lapland has been the site of numerous international military exercises this spring.

Around 1,500 US soldiers are currently in Finnish Lapland to take part in an international training exercise dubbed Northern Forest 24.

While locals in different parts of the region have taken notice of the soldiers, the troops haven’t been able to soak up the local culture too much.

Yle caught up with some US troops participating in the ongoing drills in Finland’s far north.

“It’s okay for them to go out to eat, but the soldiers are not allowed to go to bars or nightclubs. Our soldiers can get a bit rowdy. This way, we minimise risks,” U.S. Army Colonel Ryan Barnett told Yle.

“Our main job here is to practice with the Finnish Defence Forces,” he said, adding that the Americans have felt very welcome in the area. “You don’t experience that everywhere… sometimes people have been waving along the roadsides, which is fantastic.”

In addition to the warm welcome, the troops Yle met said they had been most surprised by the cool weather, reindeer and white nights.

“I thought people would be weary of us because of the current global situation. But no, people have been warm towards us. It was really surprising,” Sergeant Stacy Cohen said.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Canada pledges billions for defence, falls short of NATO’s 2%, CBC News

Denmark: Denmark’s Arctic, North Atlantic focus: Canada among new defence attaché posts, Eye on the Arctic

Faroe Islands: Parliament passes Faroe Islands’ Arctic policy, Eye on the Arctic

Norway“Historical strengthening of our Armed Forces,” says Norway, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: New commander of North Russian armed forces has served in Ukraine, Syria, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Swedes must mentally prepare for war, says military top brass, Radio Sweden

United States: White House releases U.S. Arctic strategy implementation plan, Eye on the Arctic

Yle News

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