FRIGAARD CAVE, Norway — Lit by fluorescent lights lining the ceiling, the canvas-walled corridors looked even longer and more cavernous than they did full.

For a rare few days, the caves were mostly empty, the hundreds of combat vehicles, backhoes and trucks they normally held parked in neat “sticks,” or columns, outside.

Logistics Marines flown in just for the purpose were in the middle of hustling all the gear out of the caves, performing minor upkeep, and returning it to storage, all with a stopwatch running.

Known as a Strategic Mobility Exercise, or Stratmobex, the drill gave the Marines the chance to test their reflexes in case of a major combat contingency or other crisis that might require them to man the vehicle and weapons with minimal notice.

As the world changes and more attention shifts to Europe, planners are exploring the possibility of expanding the gear cache stored in the caves — possibly even doubling or tripling its capacity.”










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