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Camp Ripley: Camp Ripley hosts celebration of the 99th Infantry Battalion (Separate)

CAMP RIPLEY--Family and friends of the 99th Infantry Battalion (Separate) visited Camp Ripley Saturday to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the unit.

Family and friends of the 99th Infantry Battalion (Separate) visited Camp Ripley Saturday to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the unit.Submitted photo
Family and friends of the 99th Infantry Battalion (Separate) visited Camp Ripley Saturday to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the unit.Submitted photo

CAMP RIPLEY-Family and friends of the 99th Infantry Battalion (Separate) visited Camp Ripley Saturday to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the unit.

The 99th Infantry Battalion (Separate) was activated in July of 1942 and is a unique unit in American military history; with the origins of the Battalion drawing from the Scandinavian communities of Minnesota, Iowa and the Dakotas.

Throughout the World War II there were a number of special operations components primarily organized for strategic and specific missions in areas of operations. Following the United States entry into the war, plans for an unconventional warfare operations in Norway began developing under the code name "Plough." The goals of these operational plans were to eliminate Norway as an economic asset for Germany while keeping large numbers of German troops occupied in Norway.

The 99th infantry Battalion (Separate) was activated at Camp Ripley on July 19, 1942, as per written instructions by the War Department.

"It is desired that you take the necessary steps to organize at the earliest practicable date a battalion of Norwegian Nationals to serve as a part of the United States Army."-Commanding General, Army Ground Forces.

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During the unit's 75th anniversary reunion, over 100 families from across the country traveled to Camp Ripley to celebrate the achievement of the "99ers."

"Camp Ripley was such a fantastic place; the staff of the post and the museum made this weekend a wonderful success," said organizer Erik Brun.

Attendees started their day on the grounds of the Minnesota Military Museum where period re-enactors, vehicle and equipment displays as well as fun activities for the family took place from 1-4 p.m. at Camp Ripley.

"We couldn't have asked for better weather and what a great set-up," added Brun.

The 99th Battalion saw combat action in France, Belgium and Germany before being implemented into the 474th Infantry Regiment and sent to Norway in June of 1945. The Battalion also contributed personnel to Operation RYPE (often referred to as NORSO), which was an airborne top secret commando mission into Northern Trøndelag towards the end of the war.

After the war, Norwegian King Haakon VII made the 99th Infantry Battalion (Separate) his honorary guards allowing the battalion stay with the other two battalions of the 474th Infantry Regiment in Oslo until October of 1945.

The evening's events kicked off around 6 p.m. during the foundation's dinner in the Historic Hangar Conference on Camp Ripley. Lt. Col. Chad Sackett, Camp Ripley Deputy garrison commander, attended the event recognizing the organization for their achievements and their legacy to Camp Ripley.

The Red Rock Swing Band out of the Twin Cities got things hopping, with a 17-piece live swing band during a 1940s Hangar Dance beginning at 8 p.m. Dancers from the Spirit Movement Dance Studio in Brainerd joined the crew for a fun evening to celebrate the Battalion.

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"Big thanks to the Red Rock Swing Band for the fantastic tunes," added Brun.

The legacy of the 99th Infantry Battalion (Separate) and the origins of its members is a strong connection to the current relationship between the Minnesota National Guard and the Norwegian Home Guard. Since 1974 the two organizations have fostered a reciprocal troop exchange that promotes friendship, community and professionalism while reinforcing an allied partnership for peace.

More information about the 99th Infantry Battalion (Separate) can be found at www.99battalion.org/ which is maintained and funded by the 99th Infantry Battalion-World War II Educational Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization registered in the state of California.

The Foundation's Mission is to preserve the history of the 99th Infantry Battalion (Separate) for future generations and to keep their legacy alive. The 99th Educational Foundation is dedicated to telling the story of the Norwegian American infantry Battalion that fought for the freedom in World War II.

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Related Topics: CAMP RIPLEY
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