/*********************************************** * Chrome CSS Drop Down Menu- (c) Dynamic Drive DHTML code library (www.dynamicdrive.com) * This notice MUST stay intact for legal use * Visit Dynamic Drive at http://www.dynamicdrive.com/ for full source code ***********************************************/
Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota Guard provides local training with a global impact

The Norwegian Exchange between the Minnesota National Guard and the Norwegian Home Guard took place this week at Camp Ripley

On February 12, at 2 am, members of the Norwegian Home Guard, Sweden, Denmark, and Croatian armies flew to the 133rd Airlift Wing in St Paul before arriving at the Minnesota National Guard training facility, Camp Ripley  While in Minnesota members of the Norwegian Exchange (NOREX) program will participate in vigorous military training to be conducted by Minnesota National Guard combat veterans, many who have served multiple overseas tours

Download photos
The mission of NOREX is, according to Lt. Col. Jay Morsching, "a partnership for peace which provides an opportunity for both countries to get together and train in a military environment NorEx is even more important today than when the program was first initiated, which was more social back then, now that we have joint force operations being conducted around the world"

While at Camp Ripley soldiers have had an opportunity to study American techniques, tactics and procedures (TTP) which have been tested on the battlefield While many of the soldiers agreed that there are similarities to the training which they receive in Norway, one soldier expressed, "it is the subtleties that are different and those subtleties are very important"  These subtleties are in part due to the traditional differences of our military missions Morsching explained the US Army has traditionally been more of a "battlefield" army, while the focus of the Norwegian Army is a "broader homeland defense role" with an emphasis on civil support and domestic terrorism While the participating countries are learning from us, our military also learns from them

They help our troops in learning and understanding the rules of engagement, which is vital now that our military missions include dealing with insurgents, and civil support

Every soldier will take away something different from their experiences here For the relatively new soldiers, they are learning invaluable skills that may one day save their lives as they deploy to Afghanistan, Kosovo or Lebanon

For others such as 1st Lt Mark Birkedal of Denmark, a training officer in his home country, he will walk away with some new ideas for training his troops back home 

Coincidentally shortly after returning home he is scheduled to offer training in "cordon and search" which has been the main area of focus for the last week

Birkedal said that he was "very impressed with the knowledge of the trainers here, acquired by their first hand experience" He is "looking forward to applying some of the techniques he has learned to his training regiment"
There are also soldiers here who have gained the kind of experience one only acquires from living in a war torn country, where every bullet, every target  shot  is in defense of your family, your countrymen and your way of life 

Master Sgt Zelko Bilandzig of the Croatian Army is such a man He fought during the Serbian-Croatian war as well as in Afghanistan Having had the opportunity to work and fight alongside soldiers of various countries, he said he found it "best to work with American Soldiers because they are physically fit, motivated and disciplined"  For him being here gives him an opportunity to aid his soldiers in getting the most they can out of every day of training

We are living in a time when our militaries are stretched thin; the war on terror is truly global All of the countries represented here have multiple deployments taking place right now; all of them are in Kosovo, Afghanistan, with a couple in Lebanon and Africa not to mention multiple UN involvements   Minnesota and the National Guard can feel proud in the role that they are playing in unifying, and training those who may not have access to some of the same training we have here  Our Soldiers and facilities are providing knowledge and experience that may one day save the life of a soldier in harm's way

By Spc Alicia Phillips
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
22 Feb, 2010

The Norwegian Exchange Program

Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

Governor Mark Dayton installs new Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General

Posted: 2017-11-04  04:16 PM
TAG installation ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton administered the oath of office to Maj. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, installing him as the Minnesota National Guard's 31st Adjutant General during a ceremony in St. Paul, November 4, 2017.

"General Jensen has been a tremendous leader of the Minnesota National Guard throughout his years of dedicated service," said Governor Dayton. "He has served in two top leadership positions, as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, and also as the Chief of Staff at the Guard's Joint Force Headquarters. I am confident that he will continue to provide the same outstanding leadership as his predecessor, General Rick Nash."

Jensen most recently served as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division. He previously held positions as Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Africa and Southern European Task Force, Minnesota National Guard Director of the Joint Staff and Minnesota National Guard Assistant Adjutant General - Army.

Guard Heritage Suffers with Loss of Artillery Unit

Posted: 2017-10-04  11:22 AM
ETAB ANOKA, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard lost one of its most historically significant units when the 151st Artillery's E Battery, (Target Acquisition) cased its colors in a ceremony at the Anoka High School Aug. 19, 2017.

The Target Acquisition Battery (ETAB), 151st Field Artillery is one of the oldest and most decorated units in the Minnesota National Guard and the 34th Infantry Division. "Both Minnesota and the Division lose the proud lineage that goes back to Civil War days, through WW1 and WW2, and had a significant amount of battle streamers," said 151st Field Artillery Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Patrick Cornwell.

The 151st Field Artillery draws its lineage from the 1st Regiment, Minnesota Heavy Artillery of 1864 which fought two major campaigns in Tennessee during the Civil War.

In one month: Minnesota Guardsmen support Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria

Posted: 2017-09-29  02:25 PM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - In the span of a few weeks, three major hurricanes hit different parts of the southern United States, causing widespread damage and destruction and requiring the response of agencies around the country. The Minnesota National Guard is one of the many organizations that have responded, sending Soldiers and Airmen to Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

"This is the most gratifying deployment of my career," said Capt. Jeremy Maxey with the 133rd Airlift Wing who was called back from his vacation early to go to the Virgin Islands. "It means a lot to be able to actually directly help people. It's why I serve. Throughout my career I've deployed numerous times, but this is the one where you actually see the people you serve."

The start of the month brought the first request for assistance. On Sept. 1, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 11 personnel from the St. Cloud-based B Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment left for Texas following Hurricane Harvey to transport personnel and equipment in support of response efforts.

Finding fellowship in the sacred mission

Posted: 2017-09-26  12:02 PM
Minnesota National Guard CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - One of the most difficult, most sacred, honorable duties in the military is one that people don't often think about. It takes compassion, empathy, care, and requires great resilience. It is one that when called upon to train for, they hope to rarely perform because it means another Soldier has been lost. It is the duty of casualty notification officer and casualty assistance officer.

About 45 Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers came to Camp Ripley, Minnesota, on September 21-22, 2017, for a Reset Seminar to find fellowship in one specific thing they have in common: delivering the worst news in the Army.

When a Soldier dies at home or overseas, CNOs and CAOs must notify and help families through the process, including paperwork, benefits, and funeral arrangements.

Article archive