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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota, Norway Partnership Grows Strong at Camp Ripley

Minnesota National Guard CAMP RIPLEY, Minn - Norway's Chief of Defense, General Harald Sunde, arrived via Black Hawk helicopter Feb 16, 2013 amidst a small snow flurry and with much fanfare from the Norwegian soldiers that are training at Camp Ripley for the next two weeks

"Our two nations share great values Together we stand up against terrorism," said Sunde "This is a very important mission and we have an obligation to get our soldiers together not only on the battlefield but back at home"

The 40th Norwegian Exchange (NOREX) featured an evening feast prepared by the Norwegian contingent's own chef, and featured customary food and drinks for soldiers and community leaders to enjoy and learn about the culinary culture of Norway  Various preparations of salmon, reindeer, lamb and moose were paired with authentic cheeses, salads and fish soup  During the meal, a cultural presentation was shown, shedding light on both the military history of Norway, as well as a look into the beauty of the Norwegian countryside "This event brings young men and women soldiers together to create friendship and long lasting relations," said Sunde

"Today I had the opportunity to talk to some of our soldiers about the experience of the exchange," said Sunde  "Face to face, soldiers can discuss lessons learned, what they had done and talk about their piece of equipment--that is really what is bringing this friendship forward"

After a night of bonding and fellowship, the Norwegians worshipped with Minnesota National Guard Soldiers at a bilingual church service  Praying and singing in both languages, the theme continued to be one of brotherhood between the nations

Sunde, the chief of defense for Norway, is the highest-ranking officer of the Norwegian military, second only to the king of Norway  In addition to acting as Norway's NATO military committee representation, he is the top advisor to the Norwegian government regarding military issues  Sunde returned to Norway on Monday, Feb 18, 2013 to recognize and celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the Norwegian / Minnesotan Reciprocal Troop Exchange program - the oldest such program in Norway and the Department of Defense 

By Tech Sgt Scott G Herrington
148th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Feb 20, 2013

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