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News: Skiing through the Norwegian forest, dressed in the uniforms of Norwegian Home Guard soldiers, are Minnesota National Guardsmen

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Partners in peace Spc. Linsey Williams

Minnesota National Guardsmen and their counterparts from the Norwegian Home Guard pose for a photo during winter training as part of the annual Norwegian Exchange at Camp Vaernes in Nord-Trøndelag county, Norway, Feb. 17, 2013. The exchange began in 1974 and is the longest-running military exchange partnership between any two countries. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Linsey Williams/Released)

CAMP VAERNES, Norway - The 40th Annual Norwegian Exchange is in full swing as Norwegian lieutenants and noncommissioned officers take individual platoons and squads under their wings teaching them survival skills for a planned field training exercise in the forests of Norway.

For the two days leading up to the four-day exercise, the Norwegians taught Minnesota Guardsmen what they would need to know before going out to the field. It began with classroom instruction about cold weather injuries and how to dress properly for the field with their new Norwegian uniform.

After classroom instruction, the rest of the day was spent putting together quick-cover tents for individual squads to take with them to the field. Troops were also taught how to use essential equipment to the Norwegian military, including small burners called primus stoves, and large tents with heating stoves.

On the day following these lessons, the troops were brought to a location away from Camp Vaernes, to put their freshly learned skills to the test. One platoon leader, Norwegian 1st Lt. Kim Tore Loen, is now participating in his fifth Norwegian Exchange.

“My experience is that it’s very fun. It’s very fun to get you over and go on skis. Skiing — that’s the best part,” said Loen. “It’s very funny for me to teach you how to walk on the skis and see how you actually learn it at the start and what it becomes at the end. It’s a huge difference, and it’s good to see that kind of change.”

The day before the field training exercise, which was devoted to skiing from various locations and setting up and taking down camp to hone their skills, a lot of positive change was evident. One squad held an after action review with their Norwegian squad leader, Cpl. Carl Einar Rasmussen.

“You learned and got a lot better from this morning to now. I’m a little bit proud, actually,” said Rasmussen.

Though the troops did great on practice day, the real test would be out in the field. 1st Lt. Dustin Littlefield, Minnesotan counterpart to 1st Lt. Loen, showed his enthusiasm for getting out to the field with his troops when he said, “Tomorrow we’re looking forward to putting our skis on and putting on our ruck and carrying the heavy loads. It should be a great time.”


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Public Domain Mark
This work, Skiing through the Norwegian forest, dressed in the uniforms of Norwegian Home Guard soldiers, are Minnesota National Guardsmen, by SPC Linsey Williams, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:02.17.2013

Date Posted:02.17.2013 22:35

Location:CAMP VAERNES, 2, NO

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  • 103 members of the Minnesota National Guard deployed to Norway for the Norwegian Troop Reciprocal Exchange. The U.S. Contingent arrives at Camp Verneas, Norway to begin a two-week long experience that they will long remember. This exchange program, now in its 35th year, continues to be a great opportunity for Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen to experience winter training, participate in Norwegian culture and traditions, and establish lifelong relationships.
  • After two action-packed weeks, the 40th anniversary of the Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange (NOREX) has come an end. The longest partnership-in-training between two nations, NOREX has been, and continues to be, a shining example of the positive reciprocity that can exist between allied militaries.

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