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Minnesota National Guard
American-Norwegian exchange looks forward to warm partnership

Minnesota National Guard CAMP RIPLEY, Minn-The Minnesota National Guard and the Norwegian Home Guard have been participating in a reciprocal troop exchange that is the longest of any allied exchange in Department of Defense history

This exchange, which began with a handshake, marks its 41st year as soldiers from Norway come to Camp Ripley June 18--July 2

"Norwegian Soldiers are thrilled to experience central Minnesota during the summer," said Capt Brett Farniok, operations project officer for the exchange "Many of them are hoping to see the wildlife and take part in the collective training we provide here at Camp Ripley"

The Norwegian Exchange or NOREX is usually conducted during the winter months, giving the service members of both nations the opportunity to train on winter tactics and survival skills Summer operations will allow for new and different training for everyone

"The warm weather also allows for more cultural events within our community It is the combination of training and social interaction which makes this exchange such a success," said Maj Donovan, spokesperson for Camp Ripley

"The idea is to broaden the scope of what we can do here," said Lt. Col. Tadd Vanyo, deputy post commander

Training events that are scheduled during NOREX include the repelling tower; confidence course; and a joint exercise with US military, Norwegian military and civilian law enforcement agencies "This culminating event during the NOREX is a high priority for us since it focuses directly on the teamwork and cooperation between military and civilian agencies," said Donovan

Additionally, the Norwegians will take part in canoeing, fishing and many other activities Minnesotans enjoy during the summer, including Brainerd Lakes Jam

"There are challenges in coordinating resources and personnel between summer and winter rotations, but the benefits far outweigh the challenges," said Vanyo

June 20, 2014
by Staff Sgt Anthony Housey
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs

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