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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota National Guard deploy to Norway for 35th Annual Norwegian Exchange

Part I
103 members of the Minnesota National Guard deployed to Norway for the Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange The US Contingent arrives at Camp Verneas, Norway to begin a two-week long experience that they will long remember This exchange program, now in its 35th year, continues to be a great opportunity for Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen to experience winter training, participate in Norwegian culture and traditions, and establish lifelong relationships

After arriving in Norway, Soldiers and Airmen departed the aircraft and participated in a flag ceremony with the Norwegian Home Guard This ceremony celebrates the relationship between the two countries and this longstanding tradition of the exchange The American flag is raised alongside the Norwegian flag in front of both the US contingent and the Norwegian Home Guard contingent

The US contingent will soon be issued cold weather equipment and prepare for the intense winter training ahead of them 1st Lt Micheal Schwieger, company commander, states that the key events ahead of the Minnesota contingent will be training in winter survival, skiing, snow caves and surviving on food caught and prepared by Soldiers

"It is about merging the different military cultures and focusing on their military customs It is definitely an opportunity to come together as a unit," said Schwieger

The Guardsmen also will be immersed in various cultural exchanges and learning activities while in Norway

Part II


Minnesota National Guardsmen are transformed into Norwegian Home Guard Soldiers as part of the 35th Annual Norwegian Troop Exchange They are issued Norwegian equipment, including a full Norwegian uniform, cold weather clothing, and winter training gear They then begin to train with Norwegian Home Guard instructors the same way Home Guard Soldiers would be trained The US Contingent soon moves from Camp Verneas in Trondheim, Norway to the Norwegian Home Guard training center at Haltdalen, further into the snowy mountains Here the troops learn the importance and history of winter training, how to pack equipment, skiing with wooden skis and full ruck sacks, and setting up shelters and camp

Following the issuing of and learning about squad equipment, the US contingent visits the nearby town of Roros where they tour Olav's Mine and experience a traditional sleigh ride through the picturesque town After some sightseeing and shopping, the next day is right back to hard training as the troops prepare to depart into the mountains to the Field Training Exercise (FTX) area Once at the FTX site, the guardsmen set up camp by putting up ten man tents, starting kerosene heaters, and taking care of their equipment

Over the next few days the US Contingent learns valuable winter training, such as setting up an emergency bivouac, lighting a fire, catching food in snares, theory of avalanches, rescue training and ski-joring

Ski-joring, a favorite training activity for many of the troops, involves twenty Soldiers being pulled behind a tracked vehicle rapidly through the snow Although the training is challenging

"I love being with new people and playing off of each others' strengths and weaknesses," said Pvt Alissa Basinski

As the next cold, snowy day arrives, troops take down their tents, pack their gear once again, and prepare their skis Then, they begin the final challenge of the winter training It involves a thirty minute ski-joring ride up the mountain and a 5 km ski march through some very challenging terrain, traveling upward approximately 200 meters in elevation At the top of the mountain, the troops set up bivouac once again and begin digging snow caves in the side of a massive snow drift This is where they will spend their last night during the FTX

As Basinski explained, "It is an experience of a lifetime"

By Tech Sgt Jason W Rolfe, Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
Feb 20, 2008
The Norwegian Exchange Program



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Month of the Military Child recognizes contributions of military kids

Posted: 2018-04-07  01:54 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The month of April is designated as the Month of the Military Child to recognize the contributions and sacrifices military children make so their family members can serve. An estimated 15,000 children in Minnesota have been affected by the deployment of a parent.

"Military children bear a lot while their family members serve," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "It is up to us to support these resilient kids and help to lessen their burden."

An event to honor military kids in Minnesota will take place April 13, 2018, at the Mall of America rotunda from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Activities will include appearances by the Teddy Bear Band and meet and greets with Nickelodeon characters.



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Posted: 2018-03-16  08:45 AM
Col. Angela Steward-Randle ST. PAUL, Minn. - Col. Angela Steward-Randle grew up in a military family - her father served in the Army on active duty - but it was a chance encounter with a friend at college that led her to want to make the military a career.

"My story is no different than many others," Steward-Randle, the Director of Human Resources, Manpower and Personnel for the Minnesota National Guard said. "I was in college and looking for financial resources to help pay for it."

Her college friend suggested they attend a summer training with the Reserve Officer Training Corps that had no obligation and could earn them some money. The friend never ended up going, but Steward-Randle did. After earning recognition as the top honor graduate and receiving an offer of a scholarship, she was hooked.



Minnesota Guardsman Receives Award for Combating Drugs in his Community

Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
Counterdrug WOODBURY, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kroll, an analyst with the Minnesota National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force who is assigned to work with the Hennepin County Sherriff's Office was recognized for his achievements as the Analyst of the Year during the 2018 Minnesota Association of Crime and Intelligence Analysts Training Symposium in Woodbury, Minnesota, March 7, 2018.

Through a partnership with Minnesota law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (MNCDTF) supports the anti-drug initiatives to counter all primary drug threats and vulnerabilities through the effective application of available assets, said Maj. Jon Dotterer, Counterdrug Coordinator for the State of Minnesota. The goal for the program is to support federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in the detection, disruption, interdiction, and curtailment of illicit drugs.

Kroll is one of sixteen service members on the Counterdrug Task Force that provides this force-multiplying service to our communities against illicit drug-use. With the information that law enforcement provide through their patrols and daily operations, Kroll and his colleagues across the state assist by putting together a figurative picture with all of the gathered information which aids in identifying how to move forward with legal action to deter or prevent the sale or use of illegal narcotic drugs.



Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - "The battlefront is no place for women to be," said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Kurtzweg, 125th Field Artillery, in an article published in 1976. "There are certain jobs girls say they can do, but they just can't do ... the battlefront is no place for women to be. Other countries in the world use women in combat, but the U.S. has not come around to that way of thinking." Kathy Berg, a New Ulm reporter summarized at the time. "So women in the New Ulm unit take care of personnel files and pay records and leave the fighting to the men."

The Minnesota National Guard has "come around to that way of thinking" since those early days of gender integration. In the last 44 years women have made momentous strides toward inclusion and acceptance. Their accomplishments are testimony to their fortitude and the progressive development of the Minnesota National Guard.

When an accomplished female Soldier is credited with breaking barriers she will often pass that honor to the women that preceded her. Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne is such a leader. She acknowledges that she is one of the first females in the Minnesota National Guard who has held key leadership roles, however she sees it differently. "I feel responsible for all women in uniform," said Clyborne. "Women before me opened the door, now I've cleared the room. It's up to the women behind me to hold the room."



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