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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota Guard Arrives, Trains in Norway

Minnesota National Guard For the 40th time since the inception of the Norwegian Exchange (NOREX), Soldiers and Airmen of the Minnesota National Guard gathered on Feb 13th, at the 133rd Airlift Wing, packed and prepared for the seven-hour flight that would bring them to Camp Vaernes near Trondheim, Norway

NOREX is a reciprocal exchange program during which more than 100 soldiers from the Norwegian Home Guard spend two weeks at Camp Ripley, Minn and in turn, Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen train in Norway During this time, the troops have the opportunity to experience a condensed version of their counterpart's training regimen

Minnesota troops arrived in Norway just before sunrise on Feb 14th From the landing strip they were taken by bus to their temporary home: Camp Vaernes They were given an hour or two to get their bearings and settle into their barracks before a traditional welcome ceremony commenced

Two companies, one of Minnesota troops, and the other of Norwegian troops, created two neat formations beside each other in the center of the camp Each company presented a color guard of three soldiers, who ceremoniously raised their respective nation's flags while a lone bugle player hailed his call Once the two flags, Norwegian and American, were waving high next to each other, the color guards retreated and the ceremony was over Over the next two weeks, those flags will wave together in the breeze, symbolizing the friendship between the two nations

After lunch, the Minnesota troops mustered again for an information brief and welcome from Col Ebbe Deraas, commander of the 12th District of the Home Guard, in which Camp Vaernes is located

"As we all know, this is the 40th exchange," Col Deraas said "You, as well as we, are historic I look forward to seeing you in the field, and I welcome you to Norway"

The rest of the day was given to the troops to rest and relax in preparation for the coming cold weather training, and many other events planned for the coming weeks

By Airman 1st Class Kari Giles & Spc Linsay Williams
Minnesota National Guard
Feb 15, 2013

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