Members of the Iowa National Guard are working to make friends of our nation’s former enemies by hosting members of the Russian Army this week. Nine Russian officers are touring central Iowa, escorted by people like Colonel Robert King, the Guard’s chief spokesman.Colonel King says the visit is part of a Guard-sponsored exchange program where Iowa troops go to Russia and the Russian soldiers come here. King says he’s had a chance to interact with the visitors at Camp Dodge and in social settings.The Russians will tour the Iowa Capitol today. In the past few days, they’ve visited an Iowa farm, a Lutheran church and several stores, like Target and Home Depot. They’ve also been up in a Blackhawk helicopter and practiced firing American machine guns — M-16s — on the range at Camp Dodge.In recent years, King says two groups of Iowa Guard members have gone to Russia for visits of about a week.
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