History
Minnesota National Guard
Minnesotan, Norwegian Soldiers Celebrate 40 Years of Partnership

Minnesota National Guard After two action-packed weeks, the 40th Anniversary of the Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange (NOREX) has come an end. The longest partnership-in-training between two nations, NOREX has been, and continues to be, a shining example of the positive reciprocity that can exist between allied militaries.

Together, Norwegian and Minnesotan troops have braved the cold and snow, skied up mountains, and slept in shelters created with bare, or rather gloved, hands. Not only have the two military groups worked hard together, they have also played well together. No event demonstrated that better than the evening of NOREX's Viking Feast.

Dressed in costumes, designed themselves out of potato sacks, Minnesota troops were treated to an elaborate production re-enacting events which would have taken place in the home of a Viking chieftain. Following the production, each troop was given their own Viking helmet (though made of plastic) and brought to feast on a traditional Norwegian meal.

The following evening also held its traditions, but this time looking a bit more formal than the ancient Vikings. Military leaders from the Minnesota National Guard traveled to Norway to dine with their Norwegian counterparts and the other NOREX participants at a farewell banquet.

"Our troop exchange began in 1974, and is the longest-running military exchange partnership between any two nations," spoke Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard. "This yearly exchange promotes goodwill and sharpens military readiness between our two nations."

In his address to the gathering at the Camp Vaernes dining facility, Nash shared a brief history of the close military bond between Minnesota and Norway. Afterwards, he presented Maj. Gen. Kristin Lund, Chief of Staff of the Norwegian Home Guard, with a unique gift.

"After the invasion of Norway from Nazi Germany, the 99th Infantry Battalion was created at Camp Ripley, Minn.," explained Nash. "All members of this unit were of Norwegian decent, and more than half were from Minnesota. Their mission was to assist in the Norwegian Resistance in efforts against the Nazis. Lund, in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the exchange program, we present you with an intact, historically correct uniform from a Minnesota Soldier who served in the 99th Infantry Battalion."

A round of applause arose in the room as Lund took a closer look at the gift. With misty eyes her only words were, "I'm speechless."

As an idea and partnership that began with a simple handshake, the Norwegian Exchange has grown to represent a unique camaraderie that exists between two nations.

"You have been working hard, and have made the Troop Exchange program what it is today, so thank you," Lund said, addressing NOREX participants. "I also hope that you have found a lot of friends. That is also an important part of this exchange--the bond between people."

Having demonstrated the purpose of the Norwegian Exchange; training and friendship building; and seeing it cumulate to one evening, members of the Minnesota National Guard shared one more meal with their Norwegian friends. For many, this certainly won't be the last.

"Even though I had my first exchange forty years ago, I still keep contact with people," shared Lund. "I hope that you will come back to Norway again."

Feb. 28, 2013
Story by Spc. Linsey Williams
Minnesota National Guard



Download photos





Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

Camp Ripley takes on largest solar energy project on a military base in MN

Posted: 2014-08-28  08:48 AM
Minnesota National Guard Little Falls, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Duluth-based Minnesota Power and the Minnesota National Guard signed an agreement on Wednesday to construct the largest solar energy installation on military property in the state.

"This solar array will start the road to making Camp Ripley net zero in energy," said Major General, Rick Nash who is with the Minnesota National Guard.



Minnesota National Guard teams with private sector to bring solar energy to Camp Ripley

Posted: 2014-08-27  09:53 AM
Minnesota National Guard Little Falls, Minn.-- The Minnesota National Guard and Minnesota Power will join forces to build a major solar energy project at Camp Ripley, the largest military base in Minnesota.

The Minnesota National Guard and Duluth-based Minnesota Power today signed a memorandum of understanding outlining plans to build a 10-megawatt utility-scale solar energy array spanning 100 acres at Camp Ripley. The project will be the largest solar energy installation on any National Guard base in the country. Minnesota Power will also identify ways to help the Guard save 30 percent of its energy, and install backup generation for energy security at Camp Ripley.



Minnesota Military Museum Curator and Secretary of State discuss Red Bull history

Posted: 2014-08-25  01:26 PM
Minnesota National Guard Last Memorial Day, Doug Bekke, the curator of the Minnesota Military Museum at Camp Ripley and Minnesota's Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie had the opportunity to sit down with Tom Lyons of Minnesota Military Radio in Minneapolis to discuss the 34th Infantry Division and Minnesota's military history.

Lyons: Welcome back to our special Memorial Day edition of Minnesota Military Radio. I am your host Tom Lyons. This is Twin Cities News Talk AM1230. Jack and Ben, Up and At 'Em in the Morning, will be back tomorrow morning, but today, all morning, we'll be talking about Memorial Day with our special guests and my co-host this morning has been Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie. Mr secretary, you're always here early in the morning and your full energy. I don't know how you do that at this hour.



Article archive
 
top