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State celebrating 40th Anniversary of troop exchange between Minnesota National Guard, Norwegian Home Guard

February 15, 2013

ST. PAUL, MN – 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 our two nations. This week, Governor Dayton will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the exchange with Minnesotan and Norwegian troops at two events; first in Minneapolis on Sunday, and then next Saturday in Oslo, Norway.

"The Minnesota National Guard and the Norwegian Home Guard have the longest-running bi-lateral 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 Governor 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 6:30pm at the Minneapolis Hilton. Governor Dayton will host the Ambassador of Norway to the United States, His Excellency Wegger Christian Strømmen and the Norwegian Chief of Defense; General 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 24 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. Governor Dayton will travel to Norway on Friday, February 22, 2013 and will return to the United States on Sunday, February 24, 2013.

NOTE: Members of the media are invited to attend the event at the Minneapolis Hilton, 1001 Marquette Ave. South. Arrive by 6:00pm to meet with Minnesota National Guard and Norwegian Home Guard soldiers who have participated in the exchange. RSVP to Lt. Col. Kevin Olson, kevin.olson@us.army.mil, or via cell 612-308-1610.