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Gov. Mark Dayton flies to Oslo for troop exchange banquet

For the past 40 years, the Minnesota National Guard and the Norwegian Home Guard have exchanged soldiers for a two-week training period, to promote good will and sharpen military readiness.

Gov. Mark Dayton will go to Norway this weekend to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the exchange. Norwegian officials — including the country's chief of defense, Gen. Harald Sunde — had come to Minnesota last week to celebrate.

"Our two nations share great values. Together we stand up against terrorism," Sunde said, according to the Minnesota National Guard's Ripley Reporter. "This is a very important mission and we have an obligation to get our soldiers together not only on the battlefield but back at home."

Each year, about 100 soldiers from each country trade places for two weeks. The Minnesotans train at Camp Vaernes near Trondheim, Norway. The Norwegians train at Camp Ripley.

The annual exchange began in 1974 and is said to be the longest-running military exchange partnership between any two nations.

After the Saturday Anniversary Banquet at the Akershus Fortress, in Oslo, the governor will fly to Washington, D.C., for Sunday's White House Governors Dinner with President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the White House.

On Monday, he'll stay in Washington for the Democratic Governors Association Meeting.

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