/*********************************************** * Chrome CSS Drop Down Menu- (c) Dynamic Drive DHTML code library (www.dynamicdrive.com) * This notice MUST stay intact for legal use * Visit Dynamic Drive at http://www.dynamicdrive.com/ for full source code ***********************************************/
History
Minnesota National Guard
To the top of the mountain and back, NOREX 44 members embrace the Norwegian winter

NOREX FTX HALTDALEN, Norway - After two days at a base camp near Haltdalen, Norway, Minnesota National Guardsmen participating in the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange were ready for the most challenging aspect of their four-day field training exercise - a ski march up the mountain.

It was Day three of the FTX, meaning members of the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange had slowly adjusted to surviving and thriving while living in a winter environment and also honed their skills on cross country skills well enough to begin a climb that would take nearly three hours.

"Our goal was to get you to know how to use the winter, see how the Norwegians use the winter, and how we survive the winter so we can conduct combat," said Vidar Aune, one of several members of Home Guard 12 guiding the Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen during their training here. "By getting the experience living outside in the snow, you manage to survive it and handle it quite well."

Now having made it up the mountain, a new survival technique would be put to practice as Soldiers and Airmen dropped their skis and grabbed shovels to dig out the coming night's shelter.

"The whole exchange unit is here making 25 caves, for five persons each," said Aune.

After Norwegian experts tested the snow to ensure it was both safe and practical for building a snow cave much earlier in the week, the U.S. contingent first took a tour of a demonstration cave, then headed to their hole to begin the dig.

"We start by digging two holes in the snow simultaneously, then we kind of turn inward and meet together and start digging the bed," said 1st Lt. Jeffrey Smith, a platoon leader here and member of the 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Battalion. "It's about five-to-six degrees warmer in here than outside, and once you get a couple bodies in here it will go up a couple more degrees."

With some of the caves still being completed by nightfall, work had nearly wrapped up before Americans and Norwegians climbed the top-most peak to watch the sun set. Following a long day of physical activity, with the wind blowing and temperature dropping, all members of NOREX 44 looked forward to spreading out in the relative luxury of the snow cave shelter.

The next day, an even more treacherous journey back down the mountain would begin, signaling the end of the four-day FTX.

"It's been great, I'm really not an outdoors person like this so I'm stepping out of my comfort zone a little bit and it feels good," said Sgt. Sean Mayberry, a member of the Joint Force Headquarters Medical Detachment. "They do a lot of hard work, some of the things we watch them do we're just like, 'Wow, man!' You got to have a lot of endurance, I know that."

"The first few days we were learning how to ski, falling a lot," said Spc. Grace Wegleitner, with the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade. "We were making fires and building shelters, learning their techniques for how to stay warm and survive in the Norwegian winters.

"The Norwegian people are very knowledgeable. It's awesome being around them. They want to teach us the language, and they want us to taste their food, and especially techniques they've learned in the military, they want to teach to us."

"That is why we are up here, to share some of our basic knowledge of how to survive without having too hard of a time and have the ability to focus on the tactical things," said Maj. Gard Ommedal, the officer-in-charge for the Norwegian Home Guard instructors and commander of the Home Guard 12's Rapid Reaction Force. "We are not focusing on the tactical things now but only the basics - how to actually be comfortable in winter."

Up next for the U.S. contingent - following warm showers and a change of clothes - the American Meal night will be celebrated, providing an opportunity for Minnesotans to host an evening meal with steaks donated by Serving Our Troops. The contingent will then head their separate ways for buddy and staff weekends, spending two days living with Norwegian families and becoming more immersed into the culture.

With only a few short days of weapons training and a couple of sightseeing tours, Soldiers and Airmen of the Minnesota National Guard's NOREX 44 will complete their training event and head home with a new appreciation for their Norwegian allies.

February 21, 2017
by Staff Sgt. Patrick Loch
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs



Download best photos





Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

Minnesota Guardsmen learn survival skills, train with Norwegian counterparts

Posted: 2018-07-03  01:36 PM
NOREX 45 Over the course of 10 days, 100 Soldiers and Airmen from the Minnesota National Guard who traveled to Norway June 17-26, 2018, for the 45th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange learned valuable survival skills and shared their knowledge with members of the Norwegian Home Guard. This year's exchange was the second to take place during the summer months in the history of the longest-running military partnership between two nations.

"It was a great experience for both the Minnesota National Guard and the Norwegian Home Guard," said Capt. 'Kiwi' HorgA�ien, the senior Norwegian instructor. "A cultural exchange, a social exchange and military exchange all packed into one."

The 45th exchange got off to a late start, with flight delays causing the trip to be shortened from its normal length of two weeks. The delay meant that the Minnesota Guardsmen jumped right into training, heading out to the field after just a few hours of sleep.



133rd Airlift Wing Emphasizes Combat Readiness Training

Posted: 2018-06-29  10:48 AM
Alpena ALPENA, Michigan - Approximately 300 U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participated in a readiness exercise at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Alpena, Mich.

The exercise, tagged as Iron Ore, was designed test the Airmen abilities to set up operations at an unfamiliar location and receive in depth training on Ability-To-Survive and Operate (ATSO) principles while supporting airlift and aeromedical flight operations.

To ensure mission success and readiness, Airmen had to complete training at home station prior to leaving for Alpena. Some of this training included weapons qualification, gas mask fit testing, Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) familiarization, self-aid and buddy care and career field training.



Red Bulls Kickoff Division Warfighter

Posted: 2018-06-13  01:38 PM
DIV WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - "A Warfighter is an exercise that allows the Division to evaluate their ability to maneuver assets in a battle," said Master Sgt. Greg Weaver, the Operations Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge for the Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion. "It is designed to focus on particular areas and specific objectives to be evaluated or tested."

The Division has geared its' planning and training efforts in preparation for Warfighter since July 2017. Coordinating transportation for Soldiers and equipment was often on the mind of Maj. David Johansson, the logistics officer for the 34th ID. With the coordination of Johansson and his team, troops and equipment all converged on Camp Atterbury, enlisting the help of 89 railcars, 280 tractor-trailers, and nearly 50 buses for the movement.

"I like to say my job is to 'quiet the noise'". Johansson continued, "The noise being a real life logistical problem that could impede the exercise."



Minnesota-based aviation unit takes part in Warfighter Exercise

Posted: 2018-06-08  11:59 AM
34ECAB WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - More than 150 Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade are here participating in a multi-echelon training event, Warfighter Exercise 18-5, May 30 to June 15.

The exercise, which is part live and part virtual, is testing the St. Paul, Minnesota-based aviation unit's ability to conduct operations and mission command in a high-intensity, complex operating environment. Soldiers are being challenged to take decisive action as they focus on air-ground operations -- or synchronizing and integrating aviation operations into the scheme of maneuver planned and conducted by forces on the ground.

In this case, the units on the ground are being commanded by the Rosemount, Minnesota-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, which is also participating in the exercise.



Article archive
 
top