Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais awarded Maj. Nicolaj Lundsteen of the Danish Home Guard the Michigan Legion of Merit Award on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at Joint Force Headquarters in Lansing. The award comes at the end of Lundsteen’s assignment as the head of the operations section, where he was responsible for managing the unique military partnership between the Michigan National Guard and the Danish Home Guard.
The partnership between the Michigan National Guard and the Danish Home Guard began in 2011, when Lundsteen’s team chose Michigan for its strategic and geographic similarities. Vadnais said the relationship is only growing in importance for both organizations.
“Maj. Lundsteen has become part of the family,” said Vadnais. “He is part of the home team, and we are sorry to see him go. But we look forward to seeing what the future holds for our partnership.”
Lundsteen has been the program manager for U.S.-Denmark relations since the beginning of the partnership. It is a role he says he has been honored to fulfill.
“Michigan is like my second home,” said Lundsteen. “This relationship is so important, and I feel we have nurtured it well. I know my general at home agrees: we hope to keep this partnership going for years to come.”
Lundsteen will be replaced by Capt. Troels Graff, who is visiting the U.S. for the first time this week. He says he is eager to start, but this won’t be his first time working with the National Guard.
“My experience with National Guard has been wonderful,” said Graff. “I worked closely with the Texas National Guard in Afghanistan, and found the soldiers to be wonderful. I am very excited to learn what the Michigan National Guard is about and further develop this partnership.”
Graff will begin his rotation at Joint Force Headquarters in early December. His position, which is funded by the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program, will continue as long as funding allows.
In the summer of 2018 Graff will facilitate Danish Home Guard participation in the global military exercise Northern Strike, which takes place at Camp Grayling, Alpena Combat Readiness Center, and other locations in Northern Michigan.