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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota Guardsmen Train in Norway for the 36th Year

Written by Sgt Darryl Sanford

1/34 BCT Public Affairs

105 Soldiers and Airmen of the Minnesota National Guard traded places with 115 members of Norway's Home Guard, the Norwegian equivalent of the National Guard During this 36th Annual Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange, each side experienced how winter skills training are accomplished on the other side of the Atlantic It was more than just skiing, sleeping in the snow and shooting It also was about understanding different cultures and traditions and earning experiences that will last a lifetime


The exchange is the longest-running military exchange between any two nations It began in 1974, and has involved today to include other countries, including Croatia and Sweden

Soon after their arrival at Camp Vaernes, Norway, on February 12, 2009, the Minnesota National Guardsmen were transformed into Norwegian Home Guard Soldiers, donning Norwegian uniforms and rank insignias and receiving Norwegian equipment After making sure the equipment fits and packed, the Minnesotans traveled south to the Norwegian Home Guard Training Center, Haltdalen At Haltdalen they received more equipment for the field training exercise, including skis, tents and a "pulk" or a sled designed to be pulled behind a skier

After a few days of getting used to the new skis, the Minnesotans completed a 4k ski march to the first campsite After setting up their tents and preparing their campsite, they continued to learn winter survival Such skills included avalanche theory and rescue, snaring wild game, making an emergency bivouac, lighting a campfire and ski-joring

On a very snowy February 17th, and with one day left in the field, the Soldiers and Airmen continued up the mountain After the 6 kilometer long ski march in the relentless wet snow, they arrived at the top of the mountain, ready to dig snow caves and prepare for the night The next morning, they returned to Haltdalen the same way they left, skiing 10 kilometers down the mountain carrying their gear with them They continued to Vaernes where they returned to the hospitality they received from their Norwegian trainers by throwing them a classic American party "¦ a Super Bowl party, prior to leaving for their buddy weekend the following day During the buddy weekend, Norwegian families opened their homes and their lives to the Americans, allowing a unique look into the daily life of the Norwegian family

In their final test of the winter skills training, the Americans were challenged with a 10K biathlon "¦ of sorts But instead of shooting, the Soldiers and Airmen were challenged to use their dexterity, memory and logic in 5 stations at every few kilometers Failure at these events cost the squads precious time at the end, with each events adding between one to 10 minutes to their ending time

After that last race, the Americans turned in their gear, and were given time for some sightseeing and shopping in Tronheim, Norway A farewell banquet was held for the Minnesotans back at Vaernes on February 18th The following day, they packed their gear and loaded the plane, leaving Norway exhausted but bringing back with them an unforgettable experience and stories they can share for a lifetime

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.



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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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