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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota Guard arrives in Norway for annual exchange

CAMP VAERNES, Norway- Arriving in Norway on February 9th, 2012 at 0630 local time, Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Airman immediately took part in a flag ceremony that marked the official start of the Norwegian Exchange  After the flag ceremony, Norwegian troops boarded the same plane that the Minnesota Guard members just disembarked  The Norwegian soldiers were to fly to Camp Ripley, Minn to begin their training in America

During the Minnesota National Guard's stay in Norway, they will be receiving winter training such as skiing techniques, avalanche training, food/emergency food rationing, bivouac routines, digging snow caves and how to build and light a fire

Soldiers and Airmen will also be given the opportunity to participate in a "buddy weekend"  This program will allow the members to spend a weekend with a Norwegian family and give them an up close look at how Norwegian's live



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There is no doubt that the 39th Annual Norwegian Exchange will create memories and friendships that none of the participants, be it American or Norwegians, will soon forget

The approximately 100 Soldiers and Airmen are scheduled to return to America later this month

The exchange began in 1974 and is the longest-running military exchange partnership between any two nations The yearly exchange promotes good will and sharpens military readiness between the nations as well as provides opportunities for cultural understanding among its participants While in Norway, the Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will conduct winter operations training with the Norwegian Home Guard They will also conduct weapons familiarization with their Norwegian trainers

The Norwegian Home Guard Soldiers are staying at Camp Ripley, Minnesota National Guard's premier training center They will be conducting winter training operations with the Minnesota National Guard and will be participating in multiple training exercises In addition, the Norwegians will stay with a Minnesota family and get the opportunity to experience some local culture

9 Feb, 2012
Story and photos by MSgt Ralph J Kapustka




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