| The exchange began in 1974 and is the longest-running military exchange partnership between any two nations. The yearly exchange promotes good will and sharpens military readiness between the nations as well as provides opportunities for cultural understanding among its participants.
In 1973, the then Inspector general, Major General Herluf Nygaard invited the Chief of National Guard, Major General
Francis S. Greenlief, to come to Norway to visit the Home Guard. During his visit both parties came up with the idea of an
exchange, agreeing that such an arrangement would be useful and beneficial. The exchange was to include men from the
National Guard in the Midwestern region of the US, an area with powerful Norwegian connections, and youths from the
Norwegian Home Guard.
The Generals Greenlief and Nygaard also agreed that the first steps should be taken in the winter of 1974. The intention
behind their agreement was to make personnel from the Norwegian Home Guard and the US National Guard familiar
with their respective weapons and equipment, organization, operation and exercise systems. Another and even more important
factor was the opportunity now offered to young Norwegians to meet young Americans from the National Guard,
in particular the Midwestern region with its Norwegian roots and traditions, and to make friends across the Atlantic and
strengthen the friendly ties between the US and Norway.
In the evening of Feb. 7, 1974 an American military plane took off from Fornebu airport with 40 Norwegians on
board, most of them Home Guard youths, two days after a similar group of young Americans had arrived in Norway. The
young Norwegians were bound for Camp Ripley, Minn., north of Minneapolis. The two-week exchange was a great
success to both parties, who agreed to continue the success. Also, in 1976 an arrangement was made
with a similar group and the exchange was now on its way to becoming a tradition.
Maj. Gen. Chester J. Moeglein, The Adjutant General for the State of Minnesota assigned Col. James Sieben, Plans, Training
and Operations Officer, to “make it happen” - and he did. In the winter of 1974, the Norwegian Home Guard and the
Minnesota National Guard exchanged nearly 40 Soldiers each to the inaugural program.
In the 1990’s a formal Memorandum of Agreement was
established including the participation of 100 Soldiers and
Airmen from Minnesota and a like number of Norwegian
Home Guard Soldiers and youth for the exchange.
The benefits to this program have been reflected in duty
locations around the world as American and Norwegian Service-
member recognize the techniques and procedures used
by each other forces and are able to relate the friendships
made during the United States / Norway Reciprocal Troop
2017 marks the 44th anniversary of this Partners for Peace
exchange program which has had over 9,700 Soldier’s, Airmen
and Home Guard personnel participate.