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Minnesota National Guard
Training with 1-94th Cavalry at Camp Ripley

Camp Ripley (Northland's NewsCenter) - Friday morning, aboard two Black Hawk helicopters, business leaders and employers from Duluth traveled to Camp Ripley The special day-long trip gave the group an up- close look as Soldiers with the 1-94th Cavalry gear up for their next mission

In a real combat zone, seconds matter At the Hand grenade qualification course at Camp Ripley, it's no different Soldiers from Hibbing feel the heat as leaders belt out commands Their accuracy is put to the test

"There is a number of tasks the Soldiers have to accomplish before they considered proficient and qualified," said Captain Alvin Graham the officer in charge of the 1-94th Cavalry squad in Duluth

The training exercise is just one of hundreds preparing troops for a spring deployment overseas 53,000 acres make up Camp Ripley which sits between Brainerd and Little Falls Last year troops spent 399,000 hours training for combat

A new component in the works at the base is the Combined Arms Collective Training Facility It provides a place to train for emergencies in all sorts of environments for not only military, but for emergency response like police and fire as well

"We've been able to run 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days (a year) key and critical training since 9/11 and all involved guard and reserved components in the war on terror," said Lt. Col. Todd Kubista the Deputy Commander for Camp Ripley Training Site

Friday's tour with the Duluth area chamber of commerce gave members the chance to practice their accuracy on the front lines through a simulator

"(It's) a way to train Soldiers in a way that doesn't, where we don't need to use reserves, we don't have to spend ammunition to teach basics of rifle marksmanship," Capt Graham said

The hands on experience gave those in the community a better understanding of what kind of training Soldiers go through

"It just goes to reflect how much training these young men and women have to go through to prepare themselves for active duty when they go overseas or domestically here," said Mike Metcalf, the executive vice president of Essentia Healthcare

"There are always there to help us they don't pound their chests much but they are there and do a lot for the community," said Mark Erickson, the port manager of CN-DMIR dock in Duluth

The National Guard leaders say there needs to be a strong understanding between them and the community for their mission to be successful

"We are taking Soldiers away from their employers from schools for an important reason," said Capt Graham

There are only nine other bases like Camp Ripley in the United States

The closet one to Camp Ripley is in Michigan

Written for the web by Kevin Jacobsen
By KBJR News 1
October 15, 2010

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