CAMP RIPLEY, Minn - The North Star Sled Dog Club hosted multiple sled-dog races in the first ever 'Spirit of the North' Winter Warrior sled dog race held Feb.16 - 17 at Camp Ripley.
"Mushers and teams came from all over the state to take part in 10, 25 and 40-mile races around the Camp Ripley Training Center," said Camp Ripley spokesperson Maj. John Donovan.
"This two day event is new to the variety of activities conducted on Camp Ripley," said Col. Scott. St. Sauver, post commander for Camp Ripley. "It's exciting to watch the racers and teams test their skills in this challenging sport," added St. Sauver.
Early risers were able to enjoy the view from the grand stand while they sipped hot chocolate. The races started at 9 a.m. on both days and lasted through the early afternoon.
"It's great having so many people out here to see what we do and learn about sled dogs," said Bob Bzdok, event co-organizer. "We are so pleased to be out here on Camp Ripley. It was great not having to worry about running into hazards on the trail."
Most sled-dog races are held in state parks or along connecting trails accessible to snowmobilers and skiers. Occasionally, the sled-dog trails will cross roads which cause a safety hazard for the racers and their teams according to Bzdok. Although Camp Ripley is open to the public, the trails utilized by the racers were closed to foot and vehicle traffic.
Of course, the dogs are the most popular aspect of the sport.
"Most folks have never seen this kind of thing before; we get a lot of questions asking about how friendly the dogs are," said Club Veterinarian Jerry Vanek. "They are excited athletes, but they'll be just as happy to lick your face as anything else," he added.
The event put on by the North Star Sled Dog Club was the first of its kind in Morrison County and drew an estimated crowd of 500 people. According to Bzdok, everyone involved stressed how impressed they were with the support from Camp Ripley and the racers are looking forward to coming back next year.
Feb. 17, 2012
Photos and story by Sgt. Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs Office
Posted: 2015-10-05 11:04 AM FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2015
More than 150 Soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard's Willmar-based 682nd Engineer Battalion will deploy for an eleven-month mobilization in support of Operation Spartan Shield.
"The deploying Soldiers of the 682nd Engineer Battalion are eager to begin the deployment to Kuwait. This will be the first deployment for two-thirds of the unit, they are ready to create their own deployment experience," said Lt. Col. Keith Ferdon, battalion commander.
"Our battalion will be part of Task Force Wild in Kuwait. As a Minnesota hockey fan that is pretty cool. Our battalion has the mission of managing engineer sustainment operations throughout the Middle East, meaning we manage road and building infrastructure maintenance for coalition forces," said Ferdon.
Posted: 2015-10-05 09:26 AM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard on Sunday dedicated its new combat medical training center in honor of Brainerd-native and famous WWII nurse Hortense McKay. She is the first female soldier to have a building named for her at Camp Ripley.
The Medical Simulation Training Center, which opened in May of 2014, specializes in training soldiers how to treat wartime wounded. It caters both to soldiers whose main role is being a combat medic (called "68Ws" in Army parlance) and to regular frontline soldiers looking to learn rudimentary lifesaving skills. Eventually, staff hope to train 2,500 people a year in the art of repairing bodies broken by combat.
Like the rest of Camp Ripley, the MSTC puts soldiers through the most stressful testing simulation possible. Strobe lights and loudspeakers recreate the distracting stimuli of combat, and the mannequins soldiers operate on display gruesome wounds that spew blood.
Posted: 2015-09-30 01:56 PM ST. PAUL, Minn. - Master Sgt. Michael Stephen Phillips, the last Vietnam-era veteran to actively serve in the 133rd Airlift Wing, was honored for his 35 years of service at a retirement ceremony at the 133rd's dining facility, Aug. 23, 2015.
An 18-year-old Phillips first joined the active-duty Air Force on Sep. 18, 1973, as a security police specialist and was stationed at the 148th Fighter Wing (when it was still an active duty base) in Duluth. Following a seven-year break in service after his initial four-year enlistment ended, Phillips' wife saw an ad on television for a special program in the National Guard, prompting his return to service.
"Back then they had what was called the Try-1 program for prior active duty members to join the Guard. It allowed you to sign up for a year and see if you liked it," said Phillips. "If it didn't work out, you could get out, and if it did ... well, I ended up staying for another 31 years!"
"The courses offered here on Camp Ripley qualify Soldiers as infantrymen, cavalry scouts, health care specialists, as well as wheeled vehicle mechanics and tracked vehicle repair technicians," said a spokesman for the Camp Ripley Visitors Bureau.
The Camp Ripley-based 175th Regiment Regional Training Institute, RTI, provides combat arms, Military Occupational Specialty and leadership training to prepare Soldiers and units for deployment at maximum combat readiness levels. One such training program is the Regional Training Site - Maintenance or RTS-M.