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Minnesota National Guard
39th Annual Norwegian Exchange: More than just Training

The 39th Annual United States/Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange (NOREX) came to a close when more than 100 Minnesota National Guardsmen landed back in Minnesota on the afternoon of February 23, 2012  The two week Exchange presented both challenging and memorable moments for all participants

The training provided by the Norwegian Home Guard gave Minnesota Soldiers and Airmen both classroom and in-the-field instruction on how to survive in a winter weather environment  Guardsmen got the opportunity to practice what they learned on a three-day field exercise  For most people the most challenging part was the three-mile, uphill ski march carrying a 60-pound equipment pack  Once Guardsmen reached their destination, they were required to make snow shelters to sleep in for the evening

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Preventing frostbite was a reoccurring theme of the training  Keeping feet clean and dry and having a spare pair of gloves and socks in reserve was an emphasis item  Another point made by Norwegian Home Guard experts were that cold conditions reduce your fighting ability and if you manage the cold conditions better than your enemy, you will have a great advantage

"Norwegian instructors were very knowledgeable and put a well executed plan in place to train us," said Maj Michelle Major, Officer in Charge of the 39th NOREX  "The morale was high among the Soldiers and Airmen and they were highly motivated to take on any challenge that the instructors presented them with"

For Maj Troy Fink, Assistant Officer in Charge of NOREX, said picking out one highlight from this year's exchange was not possible  "Overall, everything that made up the experience was the highlight," said Fink  A sentiment shared by several of the members participating in the Exchange  "The shared training and relationship building will prove to be extremely valuable to both countries"

Besides training, Minnesota Guardsmen and women were also given the opportunity to experience Norwegian culture and for one member a chance to visit family he has never seen before  Staff Sgt Ryan Lodgaard, Platoon Sergeant for NOREX, was made aware that he had relatives in Norway about a year ago when they were able to connect via Facebook  During "buddy weekend", a program where Minnesota Soldiers and Airmen get to spend a weekend with a Norwegian host family, Lodgaard was able to spend the weekend with his actual family  The weekend visit allowed him to meet many cousins and establish a bond  Lodgaard and his family in Minnesota plan on making arrangements to go to Norway this summer to spend time with their newly found relatives

"Buddy weekend" and just being able to spend time with the Norwegians showed that we were very similar and that we have more in common than one would think  A lot of strong friendships were built in two weeks and that will only help strengthen the relationship between the United States and Norway

Story and photos by Master Sgt Ralph Kapustka
148th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

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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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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."

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