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Minnesota National Guard
Camp Ripley earns top environmental award

Mississippi River CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Department of Defense announced that Camp Ripley was selected as the winner of the Secretary of Defense Environmental Award for Natural Resources Conservation, Large Installation.

The awards recognize individuals, teams and installations for their exceptional environmental achievements and innovative, cost-effective environmental practices.

"The winners' efforts strengthen the Department of Defense's position as a resourceful environmental steward, both at home and abroad, and demonstrate our continued commitment to fulfilling mission needs through advanced environmental practices and technologies," stated James A. MacStravic, performing the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

Established in 1962, the Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards recognize outstanding environmental practices that not only protect the environment, promote efficiency, and improve quality of life, but also support mission readiness. Each year, the Department of Defense selects individuals, teams, and installations that stand out in their ability to achieve these sometimes competing objectives. These awards promote the use of secure and renewable energy sources; development and implementation of innovative technologies that eliminate waste; reclamation of key water resources; and protection of our nation's irreplaceable natural and cultural heritage.

In 2017, the department selected nine winners from a total of 30 nominees in categories such as: Sustainability, Cultural Resources Management and Environmental Quality. The category of Natural Resources Conservation for a Large Installation went to Camp Ripley and the Minnesota National Guard for the achievement of key natural resources conservation goals through strategic partnerships and successful wildlife and land management.

Partnerships involved the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Department of Natural Resources, Board of Water and Soil Resources, U.S. Department of Agriculture, St. Cloud State University, Central Lakes College, The Nature Conservancy, Land use Groups and Soil & Water Conservation Districts.

"Awards like this are not won by one individual, this award really showcases the success of partnerships, partners ranging from federal agencies like the USFWS and NRCS to state departments of DNR, BWSR, and AG; Student support from SCSU and CLC; nonprofits like TNC to efforts from LUGs such as the SWCDs from Morrison and Crow Wing counties. Together we can accomplish some great things, and winning this award at the DoD level really validates the success of these partnerships," said Jay Brezinka, state environmental program manager.

Each year, the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Installations & Environment) submits a call for nominations and each military service and defense agency may submit one nomination for each of the nine categories that cover six subject areas: natural resources conservation; environmental quality; sustainability; environmental restoration; cultural resources management; and environmental excellence in weapon system acquisition.

In doing so, the department celebrates military service members and civilians for their commitments to protect human health and the environment as well as maintain and restore America's natural resources and cultural heritage for future generations while also addressing complex national security challenges.

Camp Ripley's environmental programs for both conservation and compliance continues to maintain the triple bottom line of mission, environment and community, through partnership opportunities, forestry and wildlife management as well as community outreach.

In July of 2016 Camp Ripley was federally recognized as a Sentinel Landscape, which is a conservation and encroachment effort that builds off of the Department of Defense's Army Compatible Use Buffer program, partnering State and Federal agencies aimed to conserve natural habitat, maintain landscapes that contribute to national defense and prevent incompatible development that would inhibit military training.

For many years, college and university students have utilized the opportunity to pair up with Environmental staff and participate in daily work activities. The concept mutually benefits Camp Ripley and the students by gaining experiences through a variety of opportunities.

Graduate-level research projects with discipline specific hands-on experience and project analysis give students real life, on-the-job experience in a field that is interesting to them. It exposes the students to activities that cannot be simulated in a traditional classroom setting.

"Our mission is to complement and support the military mission of the Camp Ripley Training Site by promoting sound natural resource stewardship principles," said Josh Pennington, environmental supervisor.

Through the efforts of the Environmental Office and partnership with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Camp Ripley once again earned a win in the fields of natural and cultural resource management. The triple bottom-line of Environment, Community and Mission, led to the construction of the 10-megawatt solar field in conjunction with Minnesota power. This venture will help Camp Ripley work toward its goal of becoming a Net Zero installation in the next several years.

Additionally for the National Guard under the category of Cultural Resources Management, Individual/Team the CRM Team of the Alabama Army National Guard collaborated with the Geographic Information Systems program to design and implement a cohesive integrated management tool for cultural resources management project planning across their installations.

April 27, 2017
by Staff Sgt. Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs



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Fourteen Soldiers. Twelve States. One Competition.

Posted: 2017-07-16  09:45 PM
ARNG BWC One Soldier (junior enlisted) and one NCO (non-commissioned officer) will emerge at the top at the Army National Guard's Best Warrior Competition held at Camp Ripley, Minn., July 17-20, 2017, and move on to represent the Guard in the All-Army Best Warrior Competition in October.

The competitors have been conducting last-minute training since July 12 at Camp Ripley by honing their skills on various weapons, maintaining their physical strength and endurance, and reviewing military tasks.

"I'm feeling very confident," said Cpl. Joseph Garback, a cannon crewmember with B Co., 1st Battalion, 114th Infantry, 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, New Jersey National Guard. He's been preparing with the other Region 1 competition winner, Sgt. Zachary Scuncio. Garback says he has really liked the hands-on preparation at Camp Ripley and believes he's had an ample amount of time to prepare.



Minnesota-based Combat Aviation Unit Soars into Battle Phase of Bilateral Training Exercise

Posted: 2017-07-16  09:52 AM
34th CAB CAMP ATTERBURY, Indiana - More than 140 Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade have established a presence at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, where they are supporting and engaging in high-level military operations and synchronization training.

Members of the St. Paul, Minnesota-based aviation unit, which is adept at providing a wide spectrum of aviation support, recently dove into the battle phase of the bilateral training exercise Talisman Saber 17. Throughout the exercise, much of their training will focus on air-ground integration -- or synchronizing aviation operations into the scheme of maneuver planned and conducted by forces on the ground.



Camp Ripley to host National Guard Best Warrior Competition

Posted: 2017-07-10  10:50 AM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 10, 2017

CAMP RIPLEY, Minn.- Fourteen soldiers from 12 states, representing seven Army National Guard regions will compete July 17-20 at Camp Ripley in the Army National Guard's
Best Warrior Competition.

"This competition will test the soldiers' ability to perform tasks that are vital to our ability to fight and win our nation's wars," said Command Sgt. Maj. Douglas Wortham, senior enlisted advisor for the Minnesota National Guard. "We will push them to their limits to test their endurance, strength and resilience - qualities that our soldiers must possess to be successful."

The four-day competition will feature several events to test the soldiers both physically and mentally. The soldiers will demonstrate their proficiency with weapons, their physical strength and endurance, their ability to perform military tasks and their ability to put their knowledge to use under pressure.



National Guard Best Warriors to compete in road march around Lake Itasca

Posted: 2017-07-07  09:18 AM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 7, 2017

PARK RAPIDS, Minn.- Fourteen National Guard Soldiers from 12 states will be competing July 17-20, at Camp Ripley in the Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition. As part of the competition, the soldiers will complete a road march around Lake Itasca the morning of July 20, ending at the Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center.

Members of the local media and the public are invited to cheer on the soldiers as they finish the road march. Well-wishers can come to the Mary Gibbs Welcome Center, 36750 Main Park Drive, Park Rapids, MN, 56470, on Thursday, July 20, at 8:00 a.m. and are encouraged to bring signs or flags to line the route to the finish line.

The soldiers will be marching on public and private land around Lake Itasca. Wilderness Trail will be temporary closed for a portion of the event. The march route will pass by the Pine Ridge Campground and may be visible to campers there.



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