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History
Minnesota National Guard
Gift of Norwegian stone as strong as friendship

Minnesota National Guard 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



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Minnesota's Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Program to be recognized on State Fair Military Appreciation Day

Posted: 2016-08-26  03:01 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 26, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The sixth annual Military Appreciation Day at the Minnesota State Fair presented by USAA on Tuesday, August 30, will recognize Minnesota's Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program and provide an educational opportunity for all fairgoers to learn about Minnesota's military community.

"Veterans, active duty service members, and military families deserve our immense gratitude for their sacrifice and commitment," said Governor Mark Dayton. "Since 2008, over 290 cities, counties, businesses and non-profits have joined Minnesota's "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" program, and are now providing community support and employment assistance to veterans and military families. I thank these organizations for their leadership, and encourage all Minnesotans to thank and support our military heroes."

A 10:00 a.m. program at the Minnesota State Fair's Leinie Lodge Bandshell will celebrate Minnesota's Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program. The program will conclude at 10:25 a.m. with a historic flyover of World War II-era P6 and B25 aircraft.



Willmar-based National Guardsmen to return home Saturday

Posted: 2016-08-25  03:26 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 25, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn.-

More than 150 Soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard's 682nd Engineer Battalion will return to Willmar Saturday following a mobilization in support of Operation Spartan Shield.

"The Soldiers of Task Force Wild excelled in their mission, and were recognized across the theater for their hard work and dedication," said Lt. Col. Keith Ferdon, battalion commander. "I couldn't be prouder of how our Soldiers represented the State of Minnesota."

The mission of the Task Force was to provide horizontal and vertical engineer construction in support of coalition forces in the region. The Soldiers oversaw the planning and execution of 285 construction projects with an approximate total value of 20.2 million dollars in seven countries: Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.



Minnesota Identification Card will no longer grant access to Department of Defense installations

Posted: 2016-08-19  01:53 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 19, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn.- With the implementation of the "REAL ID Act" going into effect at Department of Defense installations nationwide, access will no longer be granted to Minnesotans carrying standard state-issued identification cards. Beginning this week, Minnesota residents will be required to have an approved escort or use alternative forms of identification to access the following installations:

- 133rd Airlift Wing, St. Paul
- 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth
- 934th Joint Base, Minneapolis
- Military Facility at Fort Snelling

Without a 'Real ID,' access will be granted only to individuals with an approved escort (i.e. a service member with a Common Access Card), or carrying one of the approved alternative forms of acceptable ID.



General John W. Vessey, Jr. - The 10th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Posted: 2016-08-19  08:22 AM
Gen. John W. Vessey Jr. General John W. Vessey, Jr., a former member of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Red Bull Infantry Division and the 10th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away August 18, 2016, at the age of 94.

General John W. Vessey, Jr. was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on 29 June 1922. He enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard in May 1939 while still in high school, becoming a member of Headquarters, 59th Field Artillery Brigade, 34th Infantry Division. He was only 16 and fibbed about his age to join. With other members of his unit he was called to active duty in February 1941. When war came, the 34th became the first American division sent to Europe, where it initially fought in North Africa and then in Italy. A natural leader, Vessey rose quickly in the enlisted ranks until 6 May 1944 when, pinned down on the Anzio Beachhead amidst high casualties, the 21-year old battery first sergeant was given a battlefield commission and sent forward to direct artillery fire.

Vessey decided to stay in the Army after war. During his first 30 years of military service, he spent most of his time in combat divisions. In addition to his World War II assignment with the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division in North Africa and Italy, Vessey served with the 4th Infantry Division and 3rd Armored Division in Germany, the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam and was commanding general of the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Carson, Colorado.

He attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the Armed Forces Staff College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He also graduated from the University of Maryland. His love of flying prompted him to earn his wings, which he always wore proudly. When he graduated from the Army Helicopter School in 1970, he was 15 years older than the next oldest student.



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