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Minnesota National Guard celebrates 50 years partnering with Norway

Minnesota National Guard celebrates 50th anniversary of Norway troop exchange
Minnesota National Guard celebrates 50th anniversary of Norway troop exchange 01:41

MINNEAPOLIS -- For 50 years the Minnesota National Guard and Norway's Home Guard have exchanged ideas, technology and best practices.

WCCO documented the unique international friendship in Norway earlier this year.

Members of the Norwegian Home Guard also train side by side with Minnesota's National Guard at Camp Ripley.

It is the longest running military exchange partnership between any two nations — and it goes goes beyond military readiness.

"Responding to natural disasters. We're in a climate change world where natural disasters are big and devastating and together, side by side with our Norwegian brothers and sisters, we are able to respond," Hon. Mark Ritchie said.

RELATED: Minnesota National Guard troops celebrate after week of grueling training in Norway

Dozens gathered to honor this 50-year relationship as well as the 75th anniversary of the famous resistance act in Norway that stopped the Nazi's atomic bomb machine during World War II.

"There was a plan made and they went an successfully bombed and put this heavy water facility out of business — essentially ended HItler's drive to have an atomic bomb before the United States," Ritchie said.

The event is meant to strengthen both countries resolve to protect democracy across the world.

"But what's the future — the future comes from the deepening of relations and the establishment of new relations," Ritchie said.

Minnesota is home to the largest population of Norwegians outside of Norway.

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