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Minnesota National Guard
Simulations training gets Minnesota Guard ready for battle

Simulations CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Soldiers of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division began vehicle simulations training Jan. 9 at Camp Ripley.

"The first phase in meeting the Army's 'Ready' requirement is to certify every vehicle crew on the safe and effective operation of their vehicle and weapon platform," said Master Sgt. Rian Hofstad, master gunner for the 1st ABCT.

The main effort of the brigade's simulations training is being conducted on the Close Combat tactical Trainer. The CCTT system is a computer-driven, manned module simulator replicating the vehicles found in close combat units such as the M1 Abrams Tank, the M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle. It is designed to provide armor, mechanized infantry, cavalry and reconnaissance crews with a virtual, collective training opportunity while reducing the cost and usage of actual equipment.

"As part of the collective training program, our simulators can interface together with three subsystems offering a fully combined arms mission package," said Mr. Tim Hannah, site manager on Camp Ripley.

The use of the Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trainer and Dismounted Soldier Training Systems allows for light vehicles and dismounted personnel to join the tanks and Bradleys on the virtual battlefield and operate within the same scenario.

"The cooperative use of our mixed platform unit with Bradley fighting vehicles and HMMWV makes us an effective reconnaissance force," said Capt. Thomas Miller, plans officer with the Duluth based 1st Squadron-94th Cavalry. "The use of the CCTT and RVTT simulators is the first step to understanding that process and applying it on the battlefield."

The capabilities of the mobile simulations trailers brought to Camp Ripley include the ability to train an entire tank and Bradley companies in addition to Humvee scouts and dismounted infantry. To facilitate that large of an organization, trailers and crews from across the United States were brought in and linked with the existing simulators in place.

"We have assets from National Guard facilities out of North Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Idaho," added Hannah.

The collection of nearly 30 full-sized trailers is a major undergoing for the National Guard. Most active duty installations house multi-simulator facilities in hard structures for continued use. For the National Guard, the operations of the mobile system offers a greater availability for home station, mobilizing or deployed units in a variety of locations.

January 28, 2016
by Staff Sgt. Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs



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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.



Norwegian youth recognized for response to vehicle accident

Posted: 2017-02-22  09:59 AM
NOREX youth CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Norwegian youths Stian Dahl and Haavard Engen received the Camp Ripley Garrison Commander's coin from Col. Scott St Sauver February 19, 2017, in recognition for reacting to a vehicle accident they witnessed earlier that week.

As part of the U.S.-Norway Reciprocal Troop Exchange, Norwegian youths ages 19-20 are matched up with a host family in order to spend an evening experiencing American culture. In most situations the "Buddy Weekend" as it's called allows the youths to go shopping, attend events and have home-cook meals along with their host family.

"We are able to match up youth members with families all over the state," said Staff Sgt. Tim Krouth, Buddy Weekend organizer. "Lots of the families have hosted one or two of our Norwegian friends for several years in a row now, it a great way to relax and see some of Minnesota."



To the top of the mountain and back, NOREX 44 members embrace the Norwegian winter

Posted: 2017-02-21  01:25 PM
NOREX FTX HALTDALEN, Norway - After two days at a base camp near Haltdalen, Norway, Minnesota National Guardsmen participating in the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange were ready for the most challenging aspect of their four-day field training exercise - a ski march up the mountain.

It was Day three of the FTX, meaning members of the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange had slowly adjusted to surviving and thriving while living in a winter environment and also honed their skills on cross country skills well enough to begin a climb that would take nearly three hours.

"Our goal was to get you to know how to use the winter, see how the Norwegians use the winter, and how we survive the winter so we can conduct combat," said Vidar Aune, one of several members of Home Guard 12 guiding the Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen during their training here. "By getting the experience living outside in the snow, you manage to survive it and handle it quite well."



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