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

204th Area Support Medical Company Celebrate Their Return to Minnesota

Posted: 2015-08-29  08:44 AM
204th ASMC After a nine-month tour of duty on the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, the Soldiers of the 204th Area Support Medical Company based out of Cottage Grove, Minn., celebrated their return home on Aug. 29, 2015, at Century College in White Bear Lake.

"Our Soldiers provided medical support for the Multinational Force and Observers, which is comprised of more than 1,600 Service members from 12 nations," said Army Capt. Jonathan Vang, 204th Area Support Medical Company commander.



Military Appreciation Day at the Minnesota State Fair

Posted: 2015-08-28  03:36 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
August 31, 2015

The fifth annual Military Appreciation Day at the Minnesota State Fair presented by USAA on Sept. 1st will recognize veterans and provide an educational opportunity for all fair goers to learn about Minnesota's military community.

"A special addition this year is a morning Veteran Recognition Program just before the flag officially raises on the day at the fair," said Maj. Gen. Rick Nash, Minnesota National Guard adjutant general.



Distinguished Visitors Tour Vigilant Guard Exercise

Posted: 2015-08-28  03:30 PM
Minnesota National Guard SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Distinguished visitors toured the Minnesota Vigilant Guard 2015 exercise on Tuesday. The group was comprised of visiting military officials, emergency response leaders, and government officials.

Their purpose, to gain insight on how the Minnesota National Guard coordinates with military, federal, state, and civilian agencies during emergencies and disasters.

148th Fighter Wing simulates Emergency Family Assistance Center

Posted: 2015-08-28  03:09 PM
Minnesota National Guard DULUTH, Minn. -- The 148th Fighter Wing Emergency Family Assistance Center was activated in response to the Vigilant Guard 2015 exercise Aug. 24, 2015, as the Minnesota National Guard continued to assist local authorities around the northeastern part of the state in response to a series of simulated weather-related disasters.

"Emergencies happen, we want to make sure that military families have the information and assistance they need," stated Jennifer Kuhlman, 148th Fighter Wing Airman and family readiness program manager and EFAC coordinator.



Article archive
 
top