The military arms of the U.S. and Norway have participated in a troop exchange for over forty years. It helps the troops to learn more about the other country’s cultures and military training.
Enger Tower was dedicated by Norwegian royalty in 1939. Today, it still brings together the two allies.
“The program began with a handshake between two World War II veterans, General Sieben and General Nygaard of the Norwegian Army,” said Staff Sergeant Anthony Housey.
About 100 troops from each side participate in the U.S./Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange. The program provides essential information, training, and cultural understanding to the troops from each country.
“We utilize the opportunity to learn from the Norwegians. They learn just as much from us. It gives us the opportunity to be familiar with each other when we have to work together in the real world,” Staff Sergeant Housey said.
Minnesota is a familiar place that seems like home to the Norwegian soldiers.
Lt. Col. Per Olav Vaagland commented, “Many of us have the feeling that not all Americans know that much about Norway. Being in Minnesota is something totally different. We feel very much welcome. It’s just happy faces everywhere.”
Lt. Col. Vaagland thinks there is a lot of value in the program and doesn’t imagine it will end soon. “This link between Norwegians and Americans will probably be life-lasting relationships,” said Vaagland.