Sons of Norway CEO Eivind Heiberg, acting in his dual capacity as Honorary Consulate General for the Kingdom of Norway, made an appearance at Fort Snelling on May 21, 2019, in support of an effort to memorialize the 99th Infantry Battalion, an elite unit of Norwegian-speaking soldiers who fought for the U.S. Army in World War II.
Nicknamed “The Viking Battalion,” 99th Infantry Battalion (Separate) consisted of 1,001 original members, roughly half of whom were Minnesotans—and all of whom were of Norwegian descent. Along with Norwegian ancestry and language skills, skiing abilities were required for inclusion in the special unit, which was tasked with infiltrating occupied Norway to execute sabotage missions and weaken German hold.
The 99th Infantry was activated at Fort Ripley, Minnesota, in 1942, and many members later trained at Fort Snelling. To date, 76 members of the 99th Infantry have been buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.