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    2017: Another major year for the Minnesota National Guard

    Somewhere between those destinations lies Camp Atterbury, Indiana, where elements of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division will operate during exercise Talisman Saber in mid-summer 2017. Every two years since 2005, the U.S. military has partnered with the Australian Defence Force to develop preparedness in combining forces. From land force maneuvers and urban operations, to live ammunition and explosive ordinance fire, the Division staff will be tested to reinforce their ability to provide command and control of units conducting combat operations.

    Since 2010, the U.S. Army Europe has led Operation Saber Strike, an international training exercise that aims to strengthen interoperability among participants. This June, staff members of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team will travel to Latvia alongside the troops of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry. The exercise will test brigade-level command post operations, as well as provide company-level situational and field training.

    NATO and European Allies must continue to sharpen their ability to assemble rapid-reaction forces and deploy them where needed on short notice; an exercise like Sabre Strike offers an effective proving ground for those skills.

    When asked about the upcoming mission, Capt. Paul Modeen, the Public Affairs Officer for the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team stated, “First Brigade has a history of building relationships through partnerships and employing troops to support various missions around the globe. There is a commitment to ensuring our soldiers are highly trained, which makes us the perfect match to support and enhance the military capabilities of our allies abroad. The upcoming training opportunity with our European allies is just one of many examples of how the Minnesota National Guard is always ready to support our neighbors at home and our friends abroad. We look forward to working together for a stronger Europe and stronger alliance.”

    Finally, the Minnesota National Guard held its 44th annual Norwegian Exchange, or NOREX, this month. This reciprocal troop exchange is the longest-running military exchange partnership, having begun in 1974. During the exchange, U.S. troops travel to Camp Vaernes in Stjordal, Norway while Norwegian soldiers come to Camp Ripley in Little Falls, Minnesota.

    During an interview for the Minnesota Military Radio Hour, Capt. Kyrre Kraft of the Norwegian Home Guard explained the basis for the exchange, “It was three parts: keeping the relationship going, also doing the military training to see if we have any tactics or techniques that we can learn from each other; also for those Norwegians going over there, to see what was left of the Norwegian culture in Minnesota; also for Minnesota citizens with relatives in Norway to have a look into how it is in Norway now.”

    In each location, service members take part in training exercises that expand their skills. They also are afforded the opportunity to experience local culture, spending a “buddy weekend” with a local family. “Always a friendly exchange with the U.S. National Guard,” added Kraft.

    As the Red Bulls and the Minnesota National Guard family take on roles in international operations, their skill sets and capabilities continue to grow and reinforce the reputation that has been earned by service members past.



    Date Taken: 02.22.2017
    Date Posted: 02.22.2017 16:12
    Story ID: 224351
    Location: MN, US

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