Norway may be a country that is small in size, but one of its soldiers may have a big impact on America’s armed forces and its military education at Marine Corps University.
Norwegian soldier Lt. Col. Terje Bruøygard, faculty advisor at Command and Staff College within Marine Corps University, educates U.S. and foreign military students about warfighting and leadership.
“I am not necessarily teaching, because we can all read the same thing; it’s my skills and knowledge to connect the various topics that benefits the students,” he explained.
“This is the level where I ask questions and then we have a discussion going back and forth.”
Bruøygard’s colleagues are encouraged to call him by his initials, “TB” because of the difficulty in pronunciation, explained Marine Lt. Col. Michael Byrne, the associate dean of academics at Marine Corps War College.
“Teaching at the university is difficult for anybody and here is a man, who came from another country and teaches in another language,” exclaimed Byrne. “The Marine Corps sent me to school to learn Norwegian, so I only sort of understand his challenge.”
Byrne admires TB’s willingness to work with other faculty members and how he puts lessons together in a creative way, which reaches students across all learning spectrums.
In recognition of performance, dedication and commitment to professional military education and leadership, Bruøygard earned the Dr. Elihu Rose Award during his first year as a faculty advisor, May 30, 2019.
The 6-foot 3-inch, gentle giant from Lillehammer, Norway, became a Norwegian Army officer 26 years ago and has since brought those experiences to life in the classroom for his students.
“The United States Marine Corps is one of the world’s best combat forces,” said Bruøygard. “They know how to fight combined arms, apply maneuver warfare leadership and foster impressive morale and pride.”
He has previous experience working with Marines at Expeditionary Warfare School, and during training exercises and combat operations. While serving alongside American and Iraqi forces during Operation Task Force Lion, the final assault to push ISIS out of Iraq, Bruøygard, as a battalion commander, embedded with the Iraqi military where he and his troops ate, slept and shared the same experiences.
After his return from dployment, the Norwegian Chief of Defense and Ministry of Defense awarded Bruøygard a Norwegian “War Medal”, called Krigsmedaljen, the third-highest combat award in Norway, in the presence of the Norwegian King, May 8, 2019.
His military and academic accomplishments have not stopped him from also serving as a husband and father.
“I am still married to the same woman I met 25 years ago and we have two grown-up kids,” Bruøygard said proudly.
An accurate judgment of Bruøygard’s character in meriting both of his recent awards is his military friend of 10 years and senior enlisted advisor during Task Force Lion, Master Sgt. Odd Einar Nygard.
“TB has been my instructor several times within the Norwegian Army,” said Nygard, a student at Marine Corps University. “I know that he's passionate about what he does, and he puts a great amount of effort in learning the topics he's teaching.”
Although he is just one man, the contributions he has made in Norway, America and their respective military services, Bruøygard proves that all it really takes to make a serious impact is one soldier.