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Walz signs Letter of Intent, celebrating 50-year military partnership between Minnesota and Norway

Minnesota, Norway prepare for troop exchange
Minnesota, Norway prepare for troop exchange 02:41

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Gov. Tim Walz marked the 50th anniversary of the National Guard exchange between Minnesota and Norway on Saturday.

The Norwegian Reciprocal Exchange (NOREX) is the longest-running exchange partnership between two countries. NOREX began as a simple handshake between the Norwegian Inspector General and the Chief of the National Guard in 1973. 

A year later, 40 Minnesota National Guard members and Norwegian Home Guard youth participated in an exchange.

"Today, we are celebrating a 50-year-long military exchange between Minnesota and Norway that has produced life-long friendships, promoted deeper cultural understanding between two countries, and signified Minnesota's long-standing partnership with Norway," Walz said. 

He signed a Letter of Intent at the State Capitol to add Norway as a partner in the state's partnership program.

"As a 24-year veteran of the National Guard, I am proud to elevate this partnership and look forward to building our relationship for years to come," Walz added.

Last fall, Norwegian troopers were in Minnesota at Camp Ripley to train. Next week, the Minnesota National Guard will head to Norway. 

RELATED: The growing partnership between the citizen soldiers of Minnesota and Norway

WCCO will travel with Minnesota troops as they head to Norway for training. Look for special reports from Reg Chapman and Photojournalist Tom Aviles on WCCO and CBS News Minnesota.

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