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Minnesota National Guard
A look at leadership during NOREX

NOREX leader CAMP RIPLEY, Minn- The 42nd Annual American-Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange took place on Camp Ripley, Feb 12-25

"The exchange included over 100 Norwegian Home Guard Soldiers and a like number of Minnesota National Guard Service members," said 1st Lt Blair Marden, platoon leader for over 30 Norwegian youth conscripts

The "youth," as they are called, are made up of young individuals who learn professional development and career skills before joining the Norwegian military They range in age from 18-21, both male and female, and have been included in the exchange since its first year in 1974

Leaders responsible for the youth have been required to organize and supervise all training conducted during their time at Camp Ripley It is important for platoon leaders to utilize their experiences and judgment to ensure a productive exchange experience

"Different points of view, because of varying background or genders and cultures, are invaluable to the success of a continuously developing organization," said Maj Ryan Curl, officer-in-charge of the NOREX staff

Marden, a quartermaster officer from Hibbing, became the first female officer-in-charge of the youth platoon, taking charge of the 38 Norwegian youth and additional staff for NOREX

"I was so excited to get the opportunity to take part in this year's NOREX as a platoon leader," said Marden "It was fun and educational getting out there in the cold with everyone"

Today all Army officers are expected to be able to lead Soldiers in any capacity Previously only combat arms officers led operating formations in the field That model has been replaced by multi-functional, multi-role leaders completing the mission with a growing source of experiences behind them

"She knew her stuff and was never afraid to get down and learn with the rest of us," said Sgt. 1st Class Dale Emslander, platoon sergeant for the youth platoon

March 6, 2015
by Staff Sgt Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs



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