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Bugle calls at Camp Ripley

A soldier lies in his rack sound asleep following a hard day of training.

Like clockwork, the bugle sounds in the early a.m. playing a vigorous reveille. He springs from his bed, goes into his morning routine and preps for the events of the day.

Bugle calls date back more than 2,000 years, but didn’t establish their strong presence in military life until the early 19th century.

They were heavily used during the Civil War. A soldier in the cavalry or artillery would take action to more than 25 bugle calls each day.

Commanders also heavily relied on their buglers to keep track of their troops and get them to take action on the battle field.

In today’s Army, we don’t use as many calls as they did in the days of the Civil War but play them as they are a strong part of our military history.

One of the most well known bugle calls is “Taps,” which often invokes strong emotions from those attending a military funeral.

Camp Ripley currently plays four bugle calls over its public address system.

Each morning is started with first call at 6:25 a.m., followed shortly by Reveille at 6:30 a.m. We end our work day with Retreat and To the Colors at 5 p.m.  

We used to play Tattoo at 10:45 p.m. and Taps at 11 p.m., but after receiving a few concerns from neighbors we temporarily stopped the playing of these calls. I am hoping to start them again once I have my staff change the speaker that they are played on.

We play these calls at Camp Ripley because it’s a part of every service member’s military life honoring our nation and our comrades in arms.

The playing of these calls reminds each member that they are part of something that dates back long before themselves. An organization that has freed the oppressed, shaped a nation and brought desperately needed aid to those whom need it the most.

We honor our fallen comrades with the playing of “Taps” at the end of day and are reminded of those whom have made the ultimate sacrifice for the love of their country.

While I can understand the concerns of our neighbors having their evenings and sleep disrupted by the playing of our calls, I want to reassure them we are addressing these concerns.

I want to be the best neighbor I can be. I look forward to playing these calls in the near future but won’t play them until my staff can do so from a speaker that minimizes the disruption to our neighbors.

I ask all who hear the playing of our bugle calls to remember why we are playing them and to think of the history behind each of them. If you can hear the music of Reveille and Retreat, the proper thing to do is stop what you are doing, face the music or flag, place your hand over your heart until the last note is played.

The history of our military is a great one, and bugle calls are a part of that history. We honor that history and the men and women who made that history possible by continuing to play these calls today.

Col. Scott St. Sauver is Camp Ripley post commander.

Becca Clemens
After graduating high school in 2004, I attended Central Lakes College in Staples, MN for 2 years where I got a diploma in Communication Art and Design. I then transfered up to Bemidji State University in, you guessed it, Bemidji, MN. In the spring of 2009, I graduated from BSU. Then in the fall of 2009 I got a job at Echo Publishing, a sister company to the Brainerd Dispatch.