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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota National Guard stays busy at Arden Hills site

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Work is nearly complete on the Minnesota National Guard's $15 million, 61,000-square-foot Readiness Center, located on former Army land in Arden Hills (Jacobs was the architect) The Guard meanwhile plans to start work in September on a $29 million, 98,000-square-foot field maintenance shop, shown in this rendering from BWBR Architects



The future of the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition plant site in Arden Hills might be still up in the air, but at least part of the area already has a bright future as a Minnesota Army National Guard location

The Guard is finishing construction work on a $15 million, 61,000-square-foot armory, now called readiness centers, and plans to seek construction bids soon for a $29 million, roughly 98,000-square-foot, maintenance shop for the Guard's vehicles

Work on the field maintenance shop is expected to start in September, with likely completion in February 2013 The maintenance shop won't be the end of the work either The Guard also plans to build a second readiness center, a $17 million project including about 70,000 square feet, starting in 2013

The idea, more than a decade in the making, is to provide a more centralized location for Guard training operations around the Twin Cities, said Col Bruce Jensen, the Minnesota National Guard's construction and facilities management officer

"It provides an area for them to do more small-unit type training," Jensen said

The projects are also providing much-needed work for a construction industry still reeling in the recession's aftermath "We'd like to have more work in the private sector, but we'll take any work," said David Semerad, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of Minnesota

Jensen didn't have estimates about how many construction jobs are involved with the projects But Dianne Holte - whose Ramsey-based Holte Contracting partnered with Calgary, Alberta-based Graham Group as the general contractor estimates - at least 100 construction workers labored on the readiness center

Besides work, the readiness center provided Holte's company with experience Graham provided mentorship for Holte under a US Small Business Administration program Holte generally works on projects that are less than $3 million, but Holte thinks her firm may take on larger projects in the future

"You have to keep reinventing yourself just to stay in business and survive," Holte said

The readiness center will be mostly completed in October, after which it will be a home base for more than 200 troops of the 147th Human Resources Company, currently based in Roseville, and the 1135th Forward Support Company, currently based in Austin, Minn

"There will be units assigned to that facility, and they will actually drill there on the weekends There will be some fulltime support personnel that will work there," Jensen said

The move will free up some sorely needed space at the units' respective armories

More efficiency is also the name of the game for the field maintenance shopThe Minnesota National Guard is still operating out of facilities that are decades old, including armories constructed in the early 20th century when internal combustion engines were more of a curiosity than a military tool

After construction finishes in February 2013, the maintenance shop will have 18 repair bays and 35 staff working on everything from Humvees to transport trucks

All of the work is taking place on 300 acres on the southern border of a total 1,500 acres that the Guard acquired from the Army in 2001 after the closure of the ammunition plant The Guard plans to leave alone the remaining 1,200 acres, using it for training maneuvers

The Minnesota National Guard land is to the east of hundreds of acres still under the control the Army Ramsey County officials have been promoting the Army land, east of Highway 10 and north of Highway 96, as the site of a potential Minnesota Vikings stadium

Team officials have said they hope the Legislature will consider a stadium bill in a coming special session

Story by Chris Newmarker
Finance & Commerce
18 July 2011

Finance & Commerce
http://finance-commerce.com/2011/07/minnesota-national-guard-stays-busy-at-arden-hills-site/



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Norwegian youth recognized for response to vehicle accident

Posted: 2017-02-22  09:59 AM
NOREX youth CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Norwegian youths Stian Dahl and Haavard Engen received the Camp Ripley Garrison Commander's coin from Col. Scott St Sauver February 19, 2017, in recognition for reacting to a vehicle accident they witnessed earlier that week.

As part of the U.S.-Norway Reciprocal Troop Exchange, Norwegian youths ages 19-20 are matched up with a host family in order to spend an evening experiencing American culture. In most situations the "Buddy Weekend" as it's called allows the youths to go shopping, attend events and have home-cook meals along with their host family.

"We are able to match up youth members with families all over the state," said Staff Sgt. Tim Krouth, Buddy Weekend organizer. "Lots of the families have hosted one or two of our Norwegian friends for several years in a row now, it a great way to relax and see some of Minnesota."



To the top of the mountain and back, NOREX 44 members embrace the Norwegian winter

Posted: 2017-02-21  01:25 PM
NOREX FTX HALTDALEN, Norway - After two days at a base camp near Haltdalen, Norway, Minnesota National Guardsmen participating in the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange were ready for the most challenging aspect of their four-day field training exercise - a ski march up the mountain.

It was Day three of the FTX, meaning members of the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange had slowly adjusted to surviving and thriving while living in a winter environment and also honed their skills on cross country skills well enough to begin a climb that would take nearly three hours.

"Our goal was to get you to know how to use the winter, see how the Norwegians use the winter, and how we survive the winter so we can conduct combat," said Vidar Aune, one of several members of Home Guard 12 guiding the Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen during their training here. "By getting the experience living outside in the snow, you manage to survive it and handle it quite well."



Norwegian youth train with Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2017-02-16  10:52 AM
NOREX Youth CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. -Youth of the Norwegian Home Guard experienced some of Minnesota culture along with focused military style training during the first week of NOREX 2017.

The U.S.--Norway reciprocal Troop Exchange, which began Feb. 9, 2017, annually swaps approximately 100 Soldiers and Airmen from the Minnesota National Guard and a like number of Norwegian Home Guard soldiers as well as youths to experience each other's training, military lifestyle and most importantly, culture.

"It's rewarding interacting with more young people eager to learn about a new lifestyle and culture," said Capt. Brett Farniok, Youth Platoon Officer-in-Charge.



Warmly welcomed, U.S. contingent arrives in Norway for NOREX 44

Posted: 2017-02-12  01:38 PM
NOREX44 CAMP VAERNES, Norway - Following a muster at the 133rd Airlift Wing and an eight-hour overnight flight across the Atlantic Ocean, nearly 100 Soldiers and Airmen with the Minnesota National Guard finally arrived in Norway to conduct the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange on Feb. 9, 2017.

While the U.S.-based Soldiers were warmly greeted by members of the Norwegian Home Guard at Camp Vaernes, a similarly-sized group of Norwegian Home Guard members were received at Camp Ripley Training Center. The arrival of military members from both countries to their host nations formally began the annual exchange, which provides a unique opportunity for individuals to become fully-immersed in foreign military and social culture.

"Though I didn't know what to expect before getting here, they have been very welcoming," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Taylor Hanson, a member of the 148th Fighter Wing. "They are making sure we had everything."



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