Camp Ripley Training Center
Camp Ripley, located near Little Falls, Minnesota, is a 53,000-acre regional training center hosting numerous ranges and state-of-the-art facilities to support the training requirements of military and civilian agencies. In addition to providing resources enabling customers to train in a realistic environment, CRTC sustains lodging, administrative and conference space for customer events, programs and education. Additionally, CRTC remains committed to environmentally-sound stewardship throughout Central Minnesota to include its 18 miles of undeveloped Mississippi River shoreline.
During the 2017 training year, CRTC oversaw approximately 389,000 man-days of military training - an increase of more than 50 percent - and 61,500 training man-days for local and state inter-agency partners. The increase in man-hours can be attributed to an increase of out-of-state organizations, law enforcement agencies and state partners utilizing Camp Ripley’s resources.
Camp Ripley welcomed its first senior commander, Brig. Gen. Lowell Kruse. Col. Brian Melton assumed the role of garrison commander from Col. Scott St. Sauver. Camp Ripley also gained a new senior enlisted advisor in 2017 Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew Erickson.
In 2017 Camp Ripley was recognized with the Secretary of Defense Environmental Award for Natural Resources Conservation, Large Installation. The award recognizes individuals, teams and installations for their exceptional environmental achievements and innovative, cost-effective environmental practices. Camp Ripley’s environmental programs in conservation and compliance continue to maintain the triple bottom line of mission, environment and community through partnership opportunities, forestry and wildlife management, as well as community outreach.
In April, CRTC held the official opening of its 10-megawatt solar field, celebrating a partnership between Minnesota Power and the Minnesota National Guard that provides clean energy benefits for CRTC and the surrounding community.
Camp Ripley supported international partnerships, including the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange. Several state agencies trained at Camp Ripley: the Minnesota State Patrol, Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Department of Transportation and Minnesota Department of Corrections.
CRTC supported several large events over the summer, providing quality support, facilities and resources to customers during the busy training season. The 2017 Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition took place at Camp Ripley, July 17-20, bringing the 14 best Soldiers and Non-Commissioned Officers from across the National Guard to compete for the chance to represent the National Guard at the All-Army Best Warrior Competition. Camp Ripley also hosted a regional, multi-branch combat support training exercise in September that brought Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard units together to conduct operations in a tactical environment.
Additionally, CRTC provided direct logistical support to units from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, loading and shipping via rail vehicles and equipment destined for training exercises in Europe.
In 2018 Camp Ripley will continue to expand its customer base by reaching out to external agencies and offer the best training experience possible to all customers.
The Center Range facility will be complete in 2018 to provide combat vehicle crews a wider variety of training opportunities as the complex battlefield changes. CRTC will also remodel or replace structures that were damaged by a tornado in 2016. These improvements will increase the availability of modern billeting, with a focus on environmental stewardship.
Ongoing construction and improvements on the installation will help to make Camp Ripley a user-friendly resource with the latest in up-to-date products while sustaining contemporary and environmental trends.