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Minnesota National Guard
Honoring Veterans, Public TV Series Explores Issues Facing Minnesota Soldiers, Families

Continuing a partnership it began in 2005 with the Minnesota National Guard, Twin Cities Public Televison (TPT) will air the latest in a series of programs this month telling the stories of Minnesota soldiers and their families

And the work of a Roseville resident, Luke Heikkila, was instrumental in assembling the project, according to National Guard representatives
Continuing a partnership it began in 2005 with the Minnesota National Guard, Twin Cities Public Televison (TPT) will air the latest in a series of programs this month telling the stories of Minnesota soldiers and their families

And the work of a Roseville resident, Luke Heikkila, was instrumental in assembling the project, according to National Guard representatives

The newest partner project is "Bridging War and Hope," featuring 22 National Guard members who returned in October from a year in Afghanistan working with farmers through their local agricultural ministries to improve production and expand the marketing of their products, according to a TPT news release This and several more tpt-produced shows will air around Veteran's Day, Nov11, tpt officials added


"For the second time in three years, tpt producer Luke Heikkila has personally traveled to a combat zone so that he could share with viewers, the challenges, successes and sacrifice of our citizen-soldiers and their families," said Lt Col Kevin Olson, director of public affairs for the Minnesota National Guard "We sincerely appreciate tptÕs commitment to telling the stories of the men and women in the Minnesota National Guard"


Through tptÕs Minnesota Partnerships initiative, Heikkila has produced several documentaries and series with the Minnesota National Guard, Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs and health organizations to increase understanding and support for soldiers and veterans and their families during and after their deployments, the public TV network said


"Bridging War and Hope is a one-of-a-kind look into a very unique mission that will bring enduring economic stability to the people of Afghanistan,"said Olson He said one of HeikkilaÕs films-"Iraq and Back: Minnesotans' Stories,"-is being used for training Guard troops before deployment


TPT said it will broadcast these special programs in November in honor of Veteran's Day (Air times follow):

Joining Forces (4-part series airs Nov 4, 11, 18, 25) - In collaboration with HealthPartners Institute for Medical Education, tpt produced a series of four episodes to discuss health issues affecting Minnesota's soldiers, including traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Medical experts shed light on the struggles theyÕve seen in Minnesota soldiers and describe the adjustment process soldiers and their families endure


Iraq and Back: Minnesotans' Stories (airs Nov 11, 18) - A 2009 regional Emmy nominee, this documentary follows five soldiers and their families from the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Infantry Red Bull Division as they endure a year-long deployment to Basra, Iraq This program illustrates how they cope with the time spent away from each other Heikkila traveled to Basra, Iraq and learned first-hand what soldiers and their families experience during a deployment


-Bridging War and Hope (airs Nov 11, 18) - Located in some of the poorest, most-austere surroundings imaginable, the National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team is bridging war and hope by providing opportunities to Afghan farmers



Here is a more detailed TV schedule:
Joining Forces (4-part series)
"Home Again" Ð Nov 4 at 6:30pm; Nov 11 at 12:30am, 6:30am, 12:30pm; Nov 11(tpt LIFE) 11:00am
"On the Mend" Ð Nov 11 at 6:30pm; Nov 18 at 12:30am, 6:30am, 12:30pm; Nov 18 (tpt LIFE), 11:30am
"Grey Matters" - Nov 18 at 6:30pm; Nov 25 at 12:30am, 6:30am, 12:30pm; Nov 25 (tpt LIFE), 11:00am
"Breaking Point"- Nov 25 at 6:30pm (tpt MN)


Bridging War and Hope
Nov 11 at 9:00pm; Nov 18 at 3:00am, 9:00am, 3:00pm (tpt MN)

Iraq and Back: Minnesotans' Stories
Nov 11 at 10:00pm; Nov 18 at 4:00am, 10:00am, 4:00pm (tpt MN) By Scott Carlson
Article source
Roseville Patch



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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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