April 22, 2023 at 3:13 p.m.
BACKUS—Brig. Gen. Lowell Kruse presented the 2022 Camp Ripley annual update on the Army National Guard facility’s activities to Cass County commissioners Tuesday, April 18. Kruse informed the board the Minnesota Leadership team and mentioned this is his sixth and final year as Senior Commander of Camp Ripley and the Assistant Adjutant General - Army.
In 2022 Camp Ripley had a total of $75,194,222 expenditures for the year, with payroll expenses being $55,049,879 and employing 800 - 1,000 state and federal employees. Kruse noted, while over the past three years construction costs averaged $15,337,738 during 2022 Camp Ripley only spent $9,647,380 on construction. However, there are more projects planned for 2023.
Kruse stated Camp Ripley hosted 508,178 DOD and 74,141 local/state interagency partner man-days, multiple joint training events, hosted two State Patrol Academies and celebrated the 50th anniversary of NOREX. Camp Ripley continues to promote it’s cold weather training by hosting winter dive school training for the United States Coast Guard and a Navy Dive Course.
Kruse also shared upcoming events and trainings for 2023, with the primary military training running May through August and Air Force personnel drops being conducted during the month of May. Other events include Minnesota Officer Candidate school; hosting various units from surrounding states; a youth camp; youth archery, public archery and muzzle loader hunts and other various state trainings.
Camp Ripley will host their annual open house Sept. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is open to the public where they will be able to tour the facility and enjoy the “Sounds of Freedom.” Some of the camps other community outreach programs include: field tours, participates in area festivals, has an outreach program to Tribal communities, offers game hunts for disabled veterans, offers a Trolling for the Troops fishing event, and celebrates with special programs National Public Lands Day, Earth Day, Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
In 2022, the camp collected 500 pounds of food, which was donated to the Motley Food Shelf and hosted blood drives which lead to the collection of 324 units.
Kruse also mentioned each year Camp Ripley tries to burn off 1/5 of it’s property in a prescribed burn to reduce the rise of unplanned fires and create a safe training environment for soldiers. They were able to begin some of the prescribed burning this past weekend and plan on performing the majority during the month of May.
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