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CAMP RIPLEY, MINN- "A rock is tough, as soldiers must be," said Maj Gen Kristin Lund, Chief of Staff of the Norwegian Home Guard during a dedication ceremony at Camp Ripley, Little Falls, Minn Feb 16, 2013 "It's solid as our strong friendship It's durable as the cooperation between our nations And a rock is hard to remove from its foundations, as the exchange should be hard to remove from our future plans"
The monument, made of stone quarried in Norway, commemorated the 40th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange (NOREX) Approximately 200 Norwegian soldiers, Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Little Falls community members attended the ceremony
"This is a right and fitting monument to our program," said Brig Gen Worthe Holt, Assistant Adjutant General Air "It demonstrates that this 40 year partnership has stood the test of time, endured the forces of wind, rain and snow, and has kept us prepared and ever ready like a Soldier should be I believe this monument symbolizes the distance to our friends home is only a stone's throw away, ever reminding us to never let the grass grow on the path to our friend's house
"It's a symbol of the long-lasting friendship," said General Harald Sunde, Chief of Defense for Norway "It's the largest piece of Norway in the United States"
NOREX began in 1974, and allows Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen to participate in winter operations training with the Norwegian Home Guard in Norway, while the Norwegian Home Guard Soldiers train with Minnesota National Guard Soldiers at Camp Ripley NOREX promotes good will and enhances military readiness between the two nations while providing cultural understanding for exchange participants
Feb 16, 2013
By Tech Sgt Scott G Herrington
148th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Posted: 2015-11-25 09:37 AM ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Women Veterans Initiative (WVI), a group orientated toward networking Minnesota women military members and veterans brought 16 service(wo)men from all services, ages and backgrounds together, November 12, to assist in a Habitat for Humanity build. Eleven of the 16 women are current or former Minnesota National Guardsmen.
"We started celebrating Veterans Day this way in 2008 with Habitat for Humanity and enjoy coming back each year to build," said Trista Matascastillo, program officer for Veterans Voices and chairman for the WVI. "We learn new skills, build our own confidence and make new friends. There are 27,000-plus women vets in Minnesota and so often we hear that women veterans feel isolated and alone and having events like this is just another way to bring us out and together."
The group started in the morning with a brief on the tasks for the day and quickly got to work, going above and beyond by organizing the work-site and making sure there was a high attention to detail.
The event featured a C-130 tour for any of the attendees, which included girls as young as nine. Following the tour, the documentary film 'Girl Rising' was featured and ended with a panel discussion. Topics included overcoming obstacles, mentors and people who have inspired them along the way.
"I think events like this are essential in opening our doors to the community and raising awareness about important issues not only local, but around the world - often these are places many of our wing members have deployed to," said Master Sgt. Theresa Mensinger, Diversity and Inclusion Senior Non-commissioned officer.
Posted: 2015-11-16 07:47 AM DULUTH, Minn. - With the handing-off of the 148th Fighter Wing's flag on Saturday, Col. Jon Safstrom has become the new wing commander.
The Duluth native assumed the leadership role from Col. Frank Stokes, who is leaving Duluth after leading the 148th for more than six years to become chief of current operations at the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Va.
During Saturday's Change of Command Ceremony at the Minnesota Air National Guard base in Duluth, Stokes passed the flag of the 148th "Bulldogs" to Brig. Gen. David Hamlar, who then passed the flag to Safstrom, symbolizing the accepting of the command.
Posted: 2015-11-12 12:51 PM BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing and employees from Best Buy Corporate joined forces to support Operation Gratitude at the Best Buy corporate headquarters in Bloomington, Minn., Friday, Nov. 6, 2015.
Operation Gratitude is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, volunteer-based corporation, funded entirely by private donations. Every year, Operation Gratitude sends more than 150,000 individually-addressed care packages to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines deployed overseas.
On Friday, more than 30 members from the 133rd Airlift Wing worked side-by-side with employees of Best Buy Corporate to pack bags filled with snacks, small electronics and other items to be shipped to deployed military members overseas. The efforts paid off and the group packed nearly 1,800 bags in under an hour.