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Minnesota National Guard
Camp Ripley works around the clock to ensure smooth operations

Minnesota National Guard The Automated Target Systems (ATS) department is responsible for the maintenance and systems functions of the ranges National Guard units use while training on Camp Ripley

"The staff is made up of about nine full-time, state employees who operate targets, replace and repair range machinery and maintain the grounds for serviceability," said Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Gould, ATS range mechanic

The 53,000-acre maneuver and training area is used by military and civilian agencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week in order to allow for a competent ready force ready for state activation in support of local agencies The ease of access of theses ranges is due to the maintenance put forth by the Automated Targeting Systems personnel In the past, units who occupied the ranges were responsible for operation and maintenance, but today Camp Ripley utilizes a specially trained staff that functions in conjunction with the Range Control Office to manage the training areaThis allows units to focus on training their personnel

"Our system of range maintenance and targetry management is unlike anywhere else in the military, said Master Sgt Patrick Teimann, ATS supervisor "In other training areas there is a dedicated staff that changes targets and does maintenance which can slow down training We employ techniques that allows for one or two personnel to do all that as the unit completes training"

The need for serviceable targets and range markers is constantly in demand as units begin a heavy training cycle during the summer months Each range, operating on multiple lanes of fire, can have up to 100 or more targets requiring lifters, thermal heat sources and other machinery to facilitate the different engagement scenarios

"We make most of our targets and brackets for the lifters," said Staff Sgt Bill Tiemann, ATS range mechanic"Each target is cut from plywood or heavy metal to be changed out or serviced by one or two guys at a time"

June 12, 2013
Photo and story by Staff Sgt Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs

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