/*********************************************** * 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
2010 Norwegian Exchange Program comes to a close

The 37th Annual Norwegian Exchange program (NOREX) is soon coming to a close On February 12, at 2 am more than 80 members of the Norwegian Home Guard, 1 Swedish soldier, 1 Danish soldier, and 10 Croatian soldiers flew into Minneapolis before arriving at the Minnesota National Guard training facility, Camp Ripley On Wednesday, February 23 in the early morning hours, they will be boarding a plane to return home

Download photos
While in Minnesota members of the Norwegian Exchange program participated in vigorous, often exhausting military training which was conducted by seasoned veterans of the Minnesota National Guard  Everyone seemed grateful to have the opportunity to take part in NOREX, but they knew this was not going to be a field trip A typical day of training consisted of waking up by 6 am, to draw weapons by 6:30, then train, train, train, the last class generally concluded by 10 pm, after that they hit the racks and woke up the next morning to do it all over again

While many of the Norwegian soldiers remarked on how impressed they were by the American trainers knowledge, drive and determination, they had to admit that there are differences in our armies leadership styles The American army leadership demands that orders be carried out without question Soldiers in leadership positions have been known to yell, even swear when an order is not carried out to their standard Sometimes they yell when they are just giving the orders This is not how it works in the Danish Army 1st Lt Mark Birkedal, a training officer in the Danish army said "If I talked to my soldiers like that, there would be no one in the army"

When asked what training they find most beneficial; a majority liked the shooting house The shooting house is a building which is used to train units how to effectively clear a building of possible enemy forces Teams of four enter the building where targets are displayed, soldiers determine whether the target is a friendly or foe, and then they engage the enemy using blank ammunition 1st Lt Fjellstad of the Norwegian Home Guard said "Firing in that kind of closed quarters environment, where you are very close to everyone and shots are firing next to you, that was very good for me That was excellent training" Many NOREX participants remarked on how impressed they were by the size, quality, and the diversity of the ranges on Camp Ripley

When asked which activity or training had been most enjoyable the resounding response was "live firing on the vehicle mounted 50 cal"  2nd Lt Kristian Hansen talked of how he had "seen this kind of thing in the movies" and that "being up there firing it was like, yeah let's rock and roll" Fjellstad's response brought nods of approval from all around when stating "shooting that big gun is like getting a massage, it is good for the soul"

Watching these men reminisce about their day at the 50 cal range I realized borders, cultural, and age differences, all melt away when we come together under a common experience

22 Feb, 2010
Photos and story by Spc Alicia Phillips
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs

Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

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
2-147 NTC FORT IRWIN, Calif. - The Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Battalion is working together with aviation units from four different states to provide support to the Tennessee-based 278th Armored Calvary Regiment during a rotation at National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.

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.

Article archive