News: Minnesota Guard arrives in Norway for annual exchange
By Master Sgt. Ralph J. Kapustka
CAMP VAERNES, Norway - Arriving in Norway on Feb. 9, 2012, at 6:30 a.m. local time, Minnesota National Guard soldiers and airman immediately took part in a flag ceremony that marked the official start of the Norwegian Exchange. After the flag ceremony, Norwegian troops boarded the same plane that the Minnesota Guard members just disembarked. The Norwegian soldiers were to fly to Camp Ripley, Minn., to begin their training in America.
During the Minnesota National Guard’s stay in Norway, they will be receiving winter training such as skiing techniques, avalanche training, food/emergency food rationing, bivouac routines, digging snow caves and how to build and light a fire.
Soldiers and airmen will also be given the opportunity to participate in a “buddy weekend”. This program will allow the members to spend a weekend with a Norwegian family and give them an up close look at how Norwegian’s live.
There is no doubt that the 39th Annual Norwegian Exchange will create memories and friendships that none of the participants, be it American or Norwegians, will soon forget.
The approximately 100 soldiers and airmen are scheduled to return to America later this month.
The exchange began in 1974 and is the longest-running military exchange partnership between any two nations. The yearly exchange promotes good will and sharpens military readiness between the nations as well as provides opportunities for cultural understanding among its participants. While in Norway, the Minnesota National Guard soldiers and airmen will conduct winter operations training with the Norwegian Home Guard. They will participate in a field training exercise where they will ski into the mountains and sleep in tents and snow shelters. They will also conduct weapons familiarization with their Norwegian trainers. The soldiers and airmen will have an opportunity to experience some Norwegian culture as they visit some of the sights of Norway and participate in a “Buddy Weekend,” where they will stay with a Norwegian family.
The Norwegian Home Guard soldiers are staying at Camp Ripley, Minnesota National Guard’s premier training center. They will be conducting winter training operations with the Minnesota National Guard and will be participating in multiple training exercises. In addition, the Norwegians will stay with a Minnesota family and get the opportunity to experience some local culture.
Date Posted:02.14.2012 14:50
Location:CAMP VAERNES, 5, NO
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