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NATO Special Operations News

Allied and Partner Special Operations Forces Perform Personnel Recovery during Exercise Adamant Serpent 2023

Allied and Partner Special Operations Forces Perform Personnel Recovery during Exercise Adamant Serpent 2023 U.S. Special Operations Forces, alongside ally and partner SOF, train to enable unique capabilities to support and defend our Euro-Atlantic allies and partners during both peacetime and times of crisis. SOFCOM photo by Deacon Westervelt.

NORWAY – In a display of interoperability and unity, Allied and Partner Special Operations Forces (SOF) demonstrated their high level of readiness in the High North as part of Exercise Adamant Serpent, 11-29 September 2023.

The US Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR)-led Exercise Adamant Serpent 2023 spanned across Norway and Sweden, where Allied and partner SOF utilized the unique geographical challenges provided in the Nordic region. The exercise focused on enhancing interoperability to demonstrate the NATO Alliance’s commitment to sovereignty and freedom.

Allied and Partner Special Operations Forces Perform Personnel Recovery during Exercise Adamant Serpent 2023 A Bell 412 helicopter door gunner with 339th Special Operations Air Squadron, Royal Norwegian Air Force scans for threats during a personnel recovery training mission as part of exercise Adamant Serpent 23-2 near Bardufoss, Norway, Sept. 22, 2023. SOFCOM photo by Deacon Westervelt.

"Exercise Adamant Serpent constitutes an important milestone in operationalizing Norwegian Special Forces lead role in the region. Together with NATO Allies and partners we have demonstrated collective will and a commitment to deterrence in the defense of the High North. As commander of the Norwegian Special Forces I am extremely pleased with the effort put into the exercise and look forward to the upcoming Nordic Response exercise in 2024." Maj. Gen. Joar Eidheim, Commander, Norwegian Special Operations Forces

Norwegian F35 fighter jets provided essential air cover. At the same time, a pair of Bell 412 helicopters swiftly dropped Allied SOF into an undisclosed mountain valley within the Arctic Circle. The Special Forces secured the area, effectively defending against enemy fire and assessing and providing medical assistance to the rescued personnel. Subsequently, the Special Forces swiftly coordinated with the helicopters for extraction. The helicopters, responding promptly, airlifted both the rescued personnel and Special Forces, returning them to a nearby airbase where a medical team stood ready to provide the necessary care.

Allied and Partner Special Operations Forces Perform Personnel Recovery during Exercise Adamant Serpent 2023 Green Berets with U.S. Army 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) provide protection for two simulated casualties while awaiting evacuation during a personnel recovery training scenario as part of exercise Adamant Serpent 23-2 near Bardufoss, Norway, Sept. 22, 2023. Photo Courtesy from US Special Operations Command Europe U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Nicholas Moyte.

"Our focus was on Personnel Recovery in a denied Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2AD) environment against a near-peer adversary, which is a significant challenge. We trained on utilizing Joint Fires and 5th Generation Fighter Aircraft to gain access by mitigating and degrading the obstacles to enter the threat envelope and conduct both conventional combat rescue and unconventional assisted recovery operations," said Brett Hartnett, who works for Headquarters Special Operations Command Europe and one of the lead planners for this multinational training.

This successful SOF training showcased the high level of readiness and interoperability between the Allied and partner nations, underscoring their ability to execute complex missions with precision and speed to ultimately protect and defend the NATO Alliance and its people against any threat coming from any possible direction.