Manassas Native Participates in Ice Exercise 2022 in the Arctic Ocean

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Provided by U.S. Navy Office of Community Outreach

A Manassas native is serving with the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center (MCMWTC) supporting Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2022 in the Arctic Ocean.

ICEX 2022 is a three-week exercise designed to research, test and evaluate operational capabilities in the Arctic region.

Lt. Nicholas Roberts joined the Navy to continue a family tradition of military service.

“With two brothers in the Marine Corps, I joined the Navy to serve alongside my brothers and provide Marines and Sailors the high-quality medical care I would expect my brothers to receive,” said Roberts. “The motto of my undergraduate institution, Virginia Tech, is ‘Ut Prosim,’ roughly translated as ‘that I may serve,’ and joining the military allows the three of us to live out that motto and serve others every day. I also chose military medicine, and the Navy specifically, for the incredible and unique opportunities available to Navy physicians which far exceed anything available to most civilians, including this exercise providing medical care above the arctic circle out on frozen ocean pack ice.”
Roberts is a 2008 Bishop Denis J. O’Connell High School graduate, 2012 graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and a 2017 University of Virginia Medical School graduate.
According to Navy officials, U.S. Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard personnel are participating in the exercise alongside personnel from the Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Canadian Navy and the United Kingdom Royal Navy.
“As climate change increases our access to the Arctic, the US military will need to understand how to deploy to and occupy Arctic environments,” said Roberts. “ICEX provides us an unparalleled opportunity to understand the transport, weather, medical and gear requirements to conduct military and medical operations on sea ice. Additionally, much of what we learn and experience here on the sea ice can be translated to preparing for and providing medical care in extreme cold weather throughout the world, whether that is providing humanitarian aid at high altitude or during winter natural disasters or conducting military operations in polar regions on land or sea.”
During the exercise, personnel will conduct research and operations in the Arctic Region. A temporary ice camp named Ice Camp Queenfish is being established which consists of shelters, a command center, and infrastructure to safely house and support more than 60 personnel at any one time.
“The Arctic region can be unforgiving and challenging like no other place on Earth,” said Rear Adm. Richard Seif, commander of the Navy’s Undersea Warfighting Development Center in Groton, Connecticut, and the ranking officer of ICEX 2022. “It’s also changing and becoming more active with maritime activity. ICEX 2022 provides the Navy an opportunity to increase capability and readiness in this unique environment, and to continue establishing best practices we can share with partners and allies who share the U.S.’s goal of a free and peaceful Arctic.”
Roberts is honored to be a part of ICEX 2022.
“Establishing an ice camp on the frozen Arctic Ocean in February is an extreme exercise and successfully participating in this exercise for me feels like a validation of all the harsh environmental training the Marine Corps has provided me over the last four years,” said Roberts. “The MCMWTC was established in 1951 outside Bridgeport, California, to prepare Marines to serve in extreme cold environments, and 71 years later, it is encouraging to experience first-hand the successful accomplishment of that initial mission. If the training provided at the MCMWTC prepared my team and me to successfully operate here, we can operate in any cold-weather environment in the world.
As a member of the U.S. Navy, Roberts, as well as other sailors, know they are part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe for generations of sailors who will follow.
“I complete my military contract this summer and decided to continue serving in Navy Medicine rather than resigning my commission, and this exercise epitomizes and confirms all the reasons I want to continue to serve,” added Roberts. “Serving in the Navy allows for unimaginable opportunities and experiences to serve in distant lands alongside service members from other branches and allied nations all dedicated to a common goal and a shared set of values.”

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