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Minnesota National Guard
Norwegian Troop Exchange celebrates with 40th anniversary banquet

Minnesota National Guard The Hilton Hotel in Minneapolis was the site of the Norwegian Exchange 40th Anniversary Banquet Feb 17 The official party at the banquet included Minnesota Gov Mark Dayton, Norway's Chief of Defense Gen Harald Sunde, Chief of Staff of the Norwegian Home Guard Kristin Lund; Honorary Consul Gen Gary Gandrud, Minnesota's Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, Sen Amy Klobuchar, and Ambassador of Norway to the United States Wegger Christian Strommen The Master of Ceremonies was Don Shelby

Following the posting of the colors by the color guard the national anthems for Norway and the US were played Minnesota National Guard State Chaplain (Col) John Morris performed the invocation As dinner was served members of the official party toasted partners Norway and Minnesota Dayton gave Minnesota's toast to King Harald the Fifth of Norway and Wegger gave Norway's toast to President Barrack Obama Dinner was accompanied by music from the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division Band

Strommen was the featured speaker with remarks from Klobuchar and Sunde as well, all of which celebrated the long proud history between Minnesota and Norway "The state of the Norwegian/American relationship is strong Thank you to everyone in this room that makes this relationship, which is vital to us, so strong The troop exchange program is arguably the strongest single element in the overall bilateral relationship between Norway and the United States At the core of this is Norway's relationship to the great state of Minnesota"

Maj. Gen. Lund speaks at the 2013 Norwegian Exchange Banquet

Don Shelby speaks at the 2013 Norwegian Exchange Banquet

Maj. Gen. Nash speaks at the 2013 Norwegian Exchange Banquet

Gen Sunde speaks at the 2013 Norwegian Exchange Banquet

Norwegian Ambassador Strømmen speaks at the 2013 Norwegian Exchange Banquet

Sen Klobuchar Speaks at the 2013 Norwegian Exchange Banquet

Gov Dayton Speaks at the 2013 Norwegian Exchange Banquet

"Thank you for the invitation to Minnesota It is a great, great honor for me to be here," said Sunde "To bring the Soldiers together in competition, in training and to enjoy friendship is one of the most important parts When we fight together in operations around the world, Norwegian soldiers have been impressed by your great soldiers Brothers and sisters in arms need common interests in which this program is one of the backbones"

The Norwegian Glee Club chorus performed traditional Norwegian songs

Following the music, closing remarks were made by Lund and Nash "Our common culture makes a strong bonding factor however, our profession is perhaps the most uniting factor," said Lund "We are all allied Soldiers We have a commitment to our people, our country and to our fellow comrades This is exactly what the Minnesota National Guard has demonstrated every year"

"In need you will recognize your friends," said Nash in his best Norwegian "I can tell you that those of us in Minnesota recognize our friends here in the Norwegian community When we are in need to sustain this relationship so many of you have stepped forward The same can be said of our friends in Norway, especially General Lund and the leadership of the Norwegian Home Guard who share my view that this reciprocal exchange is a vital exercise that helps to maintain our respective nation's readiness"

The program concluded with a benediction by Chap Morris

Feb 17, 2013
By Master Sgt Daniel Ewer
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs

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