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Minnesota National Guard
All American by day, Norwegian by Night

As part of the 36th Annual Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange program at Camp Ripley, Minn, the Senior Training Coordinators of the Norwegian Home Guard, along with Camp Ripley's commander, Col Richard Weaver, toured many businesses in and around Little Falls Feb 17
The day started out with a friendly breakfast (frokost in Norwegian) at Perkins, where it soon became apparent that the "˜All American Breakfast' was a must to gather the full experience It was overheard that the food was "very good" and also a "very big breakfast" The Norwegian Home Guard left Perkins fully satisfied for a short shopping trip to Wal-Mart, known by some as one of the legends of Little Falls

It was then on to KLTF (Little Falls Radio) for an interview with Ron, Steve and Donna on "˜Party Line' It was here that Weaver and the Norwegian Home Guard Officer in Charge, Lt. Col. Johan Rist, were put in front of the microphone for such questions as "Do you eat Lutefisk?" along with family, hobby and work questions for all the other Senior Training Coordinators Rist commented to a caller questioning the secrets of ice fishing that "Those secrets of ice-fishing would have to be told in Norwegian, as they are secrets!" When asked about the training received here at Camp Ripley, Rist commented that "the instructors are better" than in Norway

One of the things that all of the Senior Training Coordinators complimented the Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and local citizens on was their hospitality and friendliness When comparing the Norwegian Home Guard and the Minnesota National Guard, Rist stated that, "The support of the National Guard Soldiers by the people of Minnesota is overwhelming" He explained that he and his Home Guard were also thanked personally by a kind citizen (while visiting the small town of Royalton) for their support of the Minnesota National Guard Soldiers

The Norwegian Home Guard consists of around 1,200 members that, with the addition of Task Force, Strengthening Force, and Follow-Up Force personnel, can expand rapidly to 56,200 Rist stated that their Soldiers must be in very good physical condition and able to ski Their Home Guard Soldiers work hard and "do not get paid for their Soldiering duties, but we are working very hard to change that"

For lunch (lunsj in Norwegian), it was off to Pizza Ranch for a buffet Once again, the meal was filled with good food, friendly conversation, and laughter As visitors, the Norwegians were again impressed with the kind treatment from the staff and other local citizens who were there dining at the local establishment

Norway is known as one of the most prosperous nations in the world and was the second largest exporter of seafood for the year of 2006 That fact making fishing one of the most common past times of many Norwegians, it was obvious why their tours of Crestliner and Larson boats were so interesting to them The tours were filled with information and a personalized step by step explanation as to how the boats were built from start to finish

After enjoying an "All American Day" in the city of Little Falls, it was time for the Norwegians to provide their own hospitality and thanks to their Military hosts and the Chamber of Commerce The Norwegians prepared a feast of their customary food and drink for their guests to sample and enjoy The food spread demonstrated the influence of long seafaring and farming traditions with salmon, other seafood balanced by cheeses, and excellent bread The guests were also served lefse and Norwegian chocolates The wonderful food was topped off with the ever legendary Akvavit, which is an alcohol that is distilled from potatoes After short introductions from the senior leadership of the Norwegian Home Guard, the formal event ended with many thanks and an invitation to continue eating, drinking, and enjoying the company of new friends

by Minnesota Army National Guard Public Affairs
The Norwegian Exchange Program

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Minnesota National Guard leaders visit traveling tribute in Austin

Posted: 2018-05-22  10:16 AM
Traveling Wall AUSTIN, Minn. - A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was on display May 16-20, in Austin and leaders of the 347th Regional Support Group took the opportunity to visit during the event's closing ceremony.

The display, dubbed the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, was hosted by Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Austin and featured a near-replica of the memorial in Washington, D.C.

"It was an honor to be part of this humbling and moving tribute to our Vietnam veterans," said Col. Stephen Schemenauer. "The traveling Vietnam Wall is a powerful display, and this event provided an opportunity to meet, and thank, service members from WWII to present-day conflicts. Regardless of their branch of service, or the era or conflict in which they served, we all share a common bond."

Minnesota Aviators lead multi-state National Guard partnership for NTC rotation

Posted: 2018-05-21  03:51 PM
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Making up Task Force Ragnar is Utah-based B Company, 1st Battalion, 211th Assault Reconnaissance Battalion; Nevada-based B Company, 1-189th General Support Aviation Battalion; Michigan-based C Company, 3-238th GSAB; and Minnesota-based A, D, E and Headquarters Companies, 2-147th AHB and F Company, 1-189th GSAB.

"Early coordination with the units across four states combined with exceptional unit leadership and motivated Soldiers helped us to quickly build the task force when we closed on Fort Irwin," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, Task Force Commander. "I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism and teamwork of task force Soldiers. This was an outstanding training opportunity that challenged every Soldier to grow as individuals and units daily."

Deployed Minnesota Guardsman honors grandfather, Hmong heritage

Posted: 2018-05-17  09:57 AM
Brandon Xiong CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - "My heritage is Hmong," said 21 year-old Minnesota National Guard Spec. Brandon Xiong from his desk at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. "A low-key culture that originated from southern Asia. Hmong is not a place, but it is a people."

Xiong, the eldest grandson of the late Col. Song Leng Xiong, is deployed in Kuwait as an information technician for Area Support Group - Kuwait.

"We were not nomadic, but have been in many different conflicts," said Xiong. "Many places I go, I am questioned about my nationality and when answered, end up being even more confused. There is a movie called, "Gran Torino", where Clint Eastwood is introduced to the Hmong culture and I think it portrays the Hmong people not so terribly."

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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