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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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