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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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Governor Mark Dayton installs new Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General

Posted: 2017-11-04  04:16 PM
TAG installation ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton administered the oath of office to Maj. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, installing him as the Minnesota National Guard's 31st Adjutant General during a ceremony in St. Paul, November 4, 2017.

"General Jensen has been a tremendous leader of the Minnesota National Guard throughout his years of dedicated service," said Governor Dayton. "He has served in two top leadership positions, as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, and also as the Chief of Staff at the Guard's Joint Force Headquarters. I am confident that he will continue to provide the same outstanding leadership as his predecessor, General Rick Nash."

Jensen most recently served as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division. He previously held positions as Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Africa and Southern European Task Force, Minnesota National Guard Director of the Joint Staff and Minnesota National Guard Assistant Adjutant General - Army.



Guard Heritage Suffers with Loss of Artillery Unit

Posted: 2017-10-04  11:22 AM
ETAB ANOKA, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard lost one of its most historically significant units when the 151st Artillery's E Battery, (Target Acquisition) cased its colors in a ceremony at the Anoka High School Aug. 19, 2017.

The Target Acquisition Battery (ETAB), 151st Field Artillery is one of the oldest and most decorated units in the Minnesota National Guard and the 34th Infantry Division. "Both Minnesota and the Division lose the proud lineage that goes back to Civil War days, through WW1 and WW2, and had a significant amount of battle streamers," said 151st Field Artillery Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Patrick Cornwell.

The 151st Field Artillery draws its lineage from the 1st Regiment, Minnesota Heavy Artillery of 1864 which fought two major campaigns in Tennessee during the Civil War.



In one month: Minnesota Guardsmen support Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria

Posted: 2017-09-29  02:25 PM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - In the span of a few weeks, three major hurricanes hit different parts of the southern United States, causing widespread damage and destruction and requiring the response of agencies around the country. The Minnesota National Guard is one of the many organizations that have responded, sending Soldiers and Airmen to Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

"This is the most gratifying deployment of my career," said Capt. Jeremy Maxey with the 133rd Airlift Wing who was called back from his vacation early to go to the Virgin Islands. "It means a lot to be able to actually directly help people. It's why I serve. Throughout my career I've deployed numerous times, but this is the one where you actually see the people you serve."

The start of the month brought the first request for assistance. On Sept. 1, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 11 personnel from the St. Cloud-based B Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment left for Texas following Hurricane Harvey to transport personnel and equipment in support of response efforts.



Finding fellowship in the sacred mission

Posted: 2017-09-26  12:02 PM
Minnesota National Guard CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - One of the most difficult, most sacred, honorable duties in the military is one that people don't often think about. It takes compassion, empathy, care, and requires great resilience. It is one that when called upon to train for, they hope to rarely perform because it means another Soldier has been lost. It is the duty of casualty notification officer and casualty assistance officer.

About 45 Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers came to Camp Ripley, Minnesota, on September 21-22, 2017, for a Reset Seminar to find fellowship in one specific thing they have in common: delivering the worst news in the Army.

When a Soldier dies at home or overseas, CNOs and CAOs must notify and help families through the process, including paperwork, benefits, and funeral arrangements.



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