(National Sentinel) WW3: The top Marine commander told about 300 personnel in Norway on Thursday that “there’s a war coming,” so their presence in eastern Europe is vital.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Ronald Green, on their annual Christmas tour, visited a Marine contingent at Vaernes Garrison in the Nordic nation and described the strategic role that the small unit is fulfilling.

They also pointed out that a peacetime mission can suddenly change into a combat mission in an instant if circumstances change.

Neller said Marines should be ready for combat at any time, predicting a “big-ass fight” on the horizon.

“I hope I’m wrong, but there’s a war coming,” Neller said. ” … You’re in a fight here, an informational fight, a political fight, by your presence.”

He added that he expects the Pacific region — a veiled reference to North Korea and possibly China — as well as Russia would be the U.S. military’s and the Marine Corps’ primary focus in the coming years.

Green was equally stark.

“Just remember why you’re here,” he said. “They’re watching. Just like you watch them, they watch you. We’ve got 300 Marines up here; we could go from 300 to 3,000 overnight. We could raise the bar.”

Most Norwegians generally support the U.S. presence, but Russia has voiced its opposition frequently, Military.com reported.

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