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CampMadla70yrs PhotoJWC 3014Naval Basic Training Centre Harald Hårfagre, more commonly known as “Camp Madla”, celebrated its 70th anniversary at its premises in the historic fjord of Hafrsfjord on Thursday, June 7, 2018.

The ceremony was presided over by Commodore Rune Andersen, the new Chief of the Norwegian Navy, who recognized the Camp’s 70th anniversary and its legacy as the largest military training centre in Norway, emphasizing that he was looking forward to future accomplishments.

The ceremony brought together local dignitaries, including Christine Sagen Helgø, the Honourable Mayor of Stavanger, Camp Madla staff and the current rotation of the naval and air force recruits, retired and active-duty Norwegian military personnel, as well as staff from NATO’s Joint Warfare Centre (JWC).

Originally established in 1871, Camp Madla has been providing training since 1948 for the young Norwegian Navy recruits who come from all over Norway. The Camp was named “Harald Hårfagre” in 1955. Camp Madla is able to provide training up to 3,500 recruits each year.  

The Chief of Madla Camp, Norwegian Navy Captain Tor Fredrik Johannessen, who took over this position in 2013, expressed his views saying that the rich history of Camp Madla was a source of great pride for the Norwegian Armed Forces, which is why the 70th anniversary of Camp Madla was held on June 7. “This is a very important date in Norwegian history. The dissolution of the union between the kingdoms of Norway and Sweden was set in motion on 7 June 1905 by a resolution of the Norwegian Parliament, and we count this date as Norway’s first step in becoming an independent constitutional monarchy,” said Captain Johannessen.

He added: “KNM Harald Hårfagre is a vital and forward-looking establishment with key outputs to the Norwegian Armed Forces; not only as a basic training centre for the recruits but also for increasing competencies of the operational units within the Navy as well as for supporting local military facilities in and around Stavanger, including the Joint Warfare Centre in Jåttå.”

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Norway is one of the countries that maintains a conscription system, the mandatory national military service for young men and women of a given age, usually 19, for a specified period of time, with basic recruit training usually lasting around eight weeks. Recruits here undergo bunk inspections, participate in drill, ceremonies, and tough sports competitions and learn about military discipline, values and combat while increasing their knowledge of the Norwegian history.

Upon graduation, the recruits may choose to start out as security guards, some at the Joint Warfare Centre, or based on their skills and wishes, they may advance their career on Norwegian naval ships or move on to more advanced level training. They may also translate their military skills to non-military jobs in the civilian sector.

In her remarks, Mayor Christine Sagen Helgø highlighted Camp Madla’s impact on Stavanger and the surrounding area and praised it effusively for its support to the Joint Warfare Centre. Since 2004, Camp Madla indeed offers the most cost-effective accommodation for NATO’s operational staffs coming to Stavanger to receive training at the Centre.

“I think there are few other military camps in Norway that cater to so many overnight guests, as well as those who already live here,” said Mayor Christine Sagen Helgø. She added: “Stavanger is an international city that, among other things, is home to the NATO base. Did you know that Madlaleiren [Camp Madla] was actually one of the reasons why NATO wanted to establish itself here, because the camp could provide affordable accommodation for training staff?”

Mayor Christine Sagen Helgø ended her speech by saying “Congratulations to all of you with the 70th anniversary. We hope for at least 70 new years for the Navy at Madla!”

Pictures from the 70th anniversary celebration in Camp Madla

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