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Minnesota and Iowa UAS operators train together at Camp Ripley
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Soldiers of the Iowa National Guard's Special Troops Battalion visited Camp Ripley, Feb. 8-13 to train in Unmanned Aerial Systems.
Operators and technicians of Company B, Brigade Special Troops Battalion a part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division conducted training along with Minnesota "Redbulls" in order to meet mandatory requirements for UAS operation.
"It's an annual requirement, we have to maintain a certain amount of flight time in order to stay certified," said Staff Sgt. Francisco Hernandez, group leader.
The reconnaissance surveillance system known as the Shadow and the smaller Raven are utilized by units of the Minnesota and Iowa National Guard for specific location, recognition and identification of key terrain features, objectives and potential hazards. The recently completed UAS training facility, completed in late 2012, provides a quality environment in order to training to meet these needs.
"We have one of the highest success rates for safe flight and operation, in the National Guard," said Spc. Nathaniel Webb of D Company, 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion a part of the Minnesota National Guard.
The facility provides National Guard Soldiers training on Camp Ripley the ability to train the larger and more sophisticated Unmanned Aerial System in an improved and tactical training environment.
The Iowa Soldiers are utilizing Camp Ripley's facility for safe and effective instruction on flight line set-up and operation, operator flight time and technician maintenance skills.
"We are learning a lot from the way this site is set up, they are way ahead," added Hernandez.
"It's a good opportunity for us to practice our techniques in different environments, even though it's too cold to fly today."
Ideal flight temperatures for the UAS are somewhere above 18 degrees. The air temperature drops about 5 degrees for every 1000 feet on a clear day which reduces their ability to fly the system safely.
"It's a great day to fly, just a little cold right now," said Staff Sgt. Chris Storkamp, flight mechanic with D Company.
With warmer temperatures predicted for later this week, the guardsmen are taking advantage of the extra time to refine their skills in preparation for flight.
February 10, 2016 by Staff Sgt. Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs
Posted: 2017-03-24 10:19 AM 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.
Posted: 2017-03-23 09:46 AM 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.
Posted: 2017-03-10 08:50 AM 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.
Posted: 2017-03-08 03:29 PM 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.