/*********************************************** * 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

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.

Forging a path to career success

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."

Article archive