For 40 years, members of the Minnesota National Guard and the Norwegian Home Guard have participated in an exchange program that promotes good will, improves cultural understanding, and sharpens military readiness between the two nations. This week, Gov. Mark Dayton will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the exchange with Minnesotan and Norwegian troops at two events; first in Minneapolis on Sunday, Feb. 17, and then Feb. 23 in Oslo, Norway.
The partnership also is scheduled to be celebrated on Saturday, Feb. 16 at Camp Ripley where a monument will be dedicated.
“The Minnesota National Guard and the Norwegian Home Guard have the longest-running bilateral troop exchange program in the world,” said Army Maj. Gen. Rick Nash, adjutant general of Minnesota. “Each year, 100 Minnesota National Guard soldiers and airmen travel to Norway to train on cold-weather tactics; simultaneously, 100 Norwegian soldiers travel to Minnesota and become familiar with U.S. military equipment and procedures.”
Diplomatic and military leaders, and members of the Minnesota National Guard and Norwegian Home Guard, will join Dayton in commemorating the exchange during two banquets — one in Minneapolis, and one in Oslo, Norway.
The Minneapolis event occurs on Sunday, February 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Minneapolis Hilton. Dayton will host the ambassador of Norway to the United States, His Excellency Wegger Christian Strømmen and the Norwegian Chief of Defense; Gen. Harald Sunde at a banquet attended by military guests and members of Minnesota’s Norwegian-American community.
The Oslo event will take place on Saturday, February 23 in Oslo, Norway. The U.S. Ambassador to Norway, Barry White, will host Governor Dayton at a banquet at Akershus Fortress. Members of the Minnesota National Guard and the Norwegian Home Guard will also participate in the banquet. Dayton will travel to Norway on Feb. 22, and will return to the United States on Feb. 24.