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Minnesota National Guard
Thunder? It might be Camp Ripley: Sights, sounds and smells of training

Minnesota National Guard CAMP RIPLEY, Minn - The Minnesota National Guard is conducting specific, complex training on Camp Ripley between May 15 and Aug 25, 2015

"This training is to evaluate each unit on its ability to meet readiness requirements and be prepared to support federal and state missions," said Capt Adam Stock, assistant operations officer for Camp Ripley

"The elements of the training will cause noise that may exceed what has been heard in the local area over the past few years," said Maj John Donovan a spokesperson for Camp Ripley

Since late May, 155mm M109A6 Howitzers from the 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery, have been conducting live fire training to validate their proficiency of being on time and on target Crews of the 1st Battalion, 151st Artillery will be culminating their training and conducting similar live fire exercises of their 155mm M777 Howitzers between July 28 and Aug 2, 2015

Loud booms, similar to thunder, will be heard during day and nighttime hours "Similar to small arms qualification, field artillery needs to be proficient and qualify yearly in numerous gunnery tables," said Maj Steven Hall, Camp Ripley range control officer "These gunnery tables require artillery crews to fire multiple rounds to qualify including high explosive, illumination and smoke"

Tank and Bradley live fire exercises will continue through Aug 15 with noise not as pronounced as the artillery, but will be continuous as their training requirements escalate Additionally, the tank and Bradley units will be conducting maneuver training around Camp Ripley demonstrating their ability to effectively shoot, move and communicate in a variety of terrain types

"Up until now, training has been more of a 'walk phase,' getting Soldiers familiarized with the tasks before them," said Capt Peter Rampaart of 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry Once the vehicles are running, gear is packed and weapons ready, it'll be game on"

To match the caliber of the training offered at national training centers, First Army personnel organized an Opposing Forces, or OPFOR The requirements of the OPFOR is to represent a real life opponent that acts as a simulated aggressor against personnel being trained

"Soldiers of the 1st Engineers are serving as regular and irregular OPFOR; part of the Army's "hybrid threat" training model," said Capt Robert McAllister, assistant S-3 1st Engineer Battalion - 1st Infantry Division Soldiers conducting training against OPFOR are often required to perform their tasks while battling the distractions of smoke, noise simulators or blank ammunition while maneuvering

June 3, 2015
by Staff Sgt Anthony Housoey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs



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Camp Ripley strikes first before wildfire season

Posted: 2017-03-24  10:19 AM
Controlled burn CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Every spring Camp Ripley begins its annual controlled burn program to help reduce the risk of wildfire during training.

"Usually the burns are completed every spring before the summer annual training season begins," said Tim Notch, training area coordinator on Camp Ripley. "However, the warmer weather conditions provide a nice opportunity for preventative burns earlier this season."

As in years past Camp Ripley will conduct controlled burns on approximately 13,000 acres of the 53,000-acre military reservation. The burns are done in coordination with the staffs of the Camp Ripley Department of Public Works and the Camp Ripley Environmental Department along with support from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.



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Posted: 2017-03-23  09:46 AM
Pfc Trevor Nelson DULUTH, Minn. - Pfc. Trevor Nelson received the Minnesota Distinguished Recruiting Ribbon and a Minnesota Recruiting and Retention Battalion medallion for excellence from Command Sgt. Maj. Curtis Serbus, March 18, 2017, at the Duluth Armory. Nelson earned these awards as part of the online referral system, Leads 2 Enlistment for referring four friends who have joined the Minnesota National Guard.

"I talked to some buddies in my school about the Guard. They liked the benefits, so I put their info in the app and let my recruiter take over." said Nelson. "I thought it would be fun to serve with friends and help them figure out their path in life."

Nelson is currently a senior at Cloquet Senior High School and assigned to the Recruit Sustainment Program in Duluth. He attended basic training at Fort Benning in the summer of 2016 with follow-on training in the summer of 2017 to become an infantryman.



Litchfield and Local Veteran Honor Gen. John Vessey at Armory Open House

Posted: 2017-03-10  08:50 AM
Vessey Bust LITCHFIELD, Minn. -Bruce Cottington, a Navy veteran of WWII and Korea, donated a bronze bust of Gen. John W. Vessey, Jr. to the Litchfield National Guard unit during the armory's public open house event March 4. Cottington, a Litchfield resident, commands the Minnesota Chapter of the Veterans of Underage Military Service. VUMS members enlisted in the military prior to the minimum age requirement in order to serve their country during WWII. Cottington received the bust from Vessey, a fellow VUMS member. Both enlisted in the military at the age of 16.

The highlight of the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion open house was the unveiling of the sculpture. The unit was very supportive when Cottington proposed donating the sculpture. The Litchfield community has always been very supportive of the National Guard over the years, so the open house was a chance to say 'thanks' to their neighbors. "This was a great opportunity to honor Bruce and to honor Gen. Vessey," said B Co., 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion Commander, Capt. Seth Goreham. Bravo Company also has a tight relationship with the local American Legion and VFW. Many Litchfield citizens are former members of Bravo Company, or the unit's predecessors A Co, 682nd Engineer Battalion, and the 849th Mobility Augmentation Company.



Camp Ripley welcomes new command sergeant major

Posted: 2017-03-08  03:29 PM
CSM Erickson CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The garrison command team of Camp Ripley, family, friends and colleagues from the Minnesota National Guard attended a Change of Responsibility ceremony between Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Worden and Command Sgt. Maj. Matt Erickson, March 5, 2017, at Camp Ripley.

The ceremony was an official "passing of the sword" from one senior noncommissioned officer to the next and assumption of the duties and responsibilities that go along with the position of Garrison Command Sergeant Major.

As with many military ceremonies those in attendance welcomed Erickson as a new member of the team and bid farewell, recognized and thanked Worden for his service.



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