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Minnesota National Guard
Croatian State Partnerships Strengthened During Vigilant Guard

Minnesota National Guard CAMP RIPLEY, Minn - The Croatian Chief of Defense, General Drago Lovic, and three of his cabinet members toured Camp Ripley Training Center (CRTC) today with Post Commander, Col Scott St Sauver and Minnesota's Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Richard C Nash The purpose of the visit was to familiarize the Croatian leaders on CRTCs capabilities for future training missions with the Croatian military

Minnesota and Croatia have a state partnership that dates back to 1996 Today the Croatian-Minnesota National Guard State Partnership program is one of 22 in the nation and involves operational training, troop exchanges and side-by-side service in combat

This tour was also timed to coincide with Minnesota's Vigilant Guard 2015 exercise, which focuses on interagency coordination to make our communities more prepared for emergencies CRTC is home to many of Minnesota's agencies that train here for such events, and St Sauver was able to showcase those capabilities to our Croatian partners

"Our part here at Camp Ripley has been resourcing a lot of the interagency partners for the exercise," said St Sauver "We train a lot on bad days, and that is what Vigilant Guard is all about - ensuring that the citizens of Minnesota can survive after a bad day" Lovic and his staff were also interested in how CRTC is operated due to its similarity to Croatia's Slunj Training Center

"This is one of the best-organized camps in the world," said Lovic "Slunj has many similarities to here and we hope that [by] talking with Gen Nash, we can upgrade our own facilities I am very happy to gain this knowledge so that I can give direction to my superintendents in Croatia" Many of the upgraded range systems that CRTC uses for training are what Croatia was here to benchmark upon for their own facilities at Slunj Other support facilities that were toured included the new Education Center, Camp Ripley Environmental Office, flight simulator and Medical Unit Training Facility

"With our relationship, we are able to provide the resources that we have along with how we establish Camp Ripley to help Croatia to identify their own requirements at Slunj," said St Sauver

Story by Tech Sgt Paul Santikko
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
Aug 24, 2015

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