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Minnesota National Guard
Norwegian Exchange brings relatives together

OLSO, Norway " For two distant relatives living over 4,000 miles apart, it was a chance to finally meet  The 38th Annual Norwegian Exchange program provided the opportunity for Senior Airman Ali Sonsteby, 133rd Airlift Wing Maintenance Squadron, to meet Gunnar Fridtjof Thurmann Sonsteby for the first time

"I am very thankful for this opportunity to meet Gunnar," said Ali "It was an amazing experience"

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Gunnar Sonsteby is the currently the most highly decorated person in Norway He was recognized for his work as a Norwegian resistance fighter during World War II His list of awards includes, but is not limited to the War Cross with three Swords, Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St Olav, Norwegian Defense Medal with laurel branch, Norwegian Police Cross of Honour, Distinguished Service Order, Presidential Medal of Freedom, the American-Scandinavian Foundation's Culture Award and he was the first non-American awarded the United States Special Operations Command Medal in 2008

"I was hunted by the Gestapo for five years and after five years they didn't find me," said Gunnar  "I guess they didn't win; I won," he added

While Ali was deployed with the 133rd Airlift Wing to Afghanistan in 2010, Gunnar came to United States for the signing of his book "Report From 24" While in the US, Gunnar made contact with Ali's aunt and met the Sonsteby family  Because of her deployment, Ali missed the chance to meet Gunnar

"I was disappointed that I did not get to see Gunnar when he came to the US in 2010, but I knew I had an obligation, he would have the patience to understand, to fulfill my military duty as an Airman," said Sonsteby

"Gunnar made a big impact in a war and here I am in a different one," said Alicia "Knowing his success makes me proud to be in the military and a part of my family"

Gunnar ended the meeting by autographing a copy of his book for Ali

Story and photos by Pfc Trisha Betz
1/34th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
18 Feb 2011

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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
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.

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