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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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NOREX drill CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The contingent of soldiers and airmen from the Minnesota National Guard preparing for the annual U.S.-Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange assembled for their first formal training event Saturday and Sunday at Camp Ripley Training Center.

The preparatory drill weekend, which took place one month before 103 members of the Minnesota National Guard embark to Norway as part of the "away team" for the two-week military and cultural exchange event, was held to provide information on the exchange and, more importantly, allow an opportunity for these service members from units across the state to come together as one team.

"It's a good opportunity to meet people from diverse backgrounds in an accelerated environment," said Army Sgt. 1st Class David Wentzel, with the 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery. "This experience is what they're going to make of it, and they're making the most of it."



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