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Croatian President Visits Minnesota National Guard Training Site

CAMP RIPLEY -- Croatian President, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovi? toured the Minnesota National Guard training site near Little Falls, Jan. 4, as part of her visit to Minnesota.

Croatian President, Kolinda Grabar Kitarović visited Governor Mark Dayton's house and Camp Ripley, Minn., Jan. 4, 2016, as part of her visit to mark the 20 year anniversary of the successful cooperation between Croatia and Minnesota within the State Partnership Program.
Croatian President, Kolinda Grabar Kitarović (in tan coat) visited Governor Mark Dayton's house and Camp Ripley, Minn., Jan. 4, 2016, as part of her visit to mark the 20 year anniversary of the successful cooperation between Croatia and Minnesota within the State Partnership Program.

CAMP RIPLEY - Croatian President, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović toured the Minnesota National Guard training site near Little Falls, Jan. 4, as part of her visit to Minnesota.

"The president's visit to Minnesota is in part to recognize the 20 year anniversary of the successful cooperation between Croatia and Minnesota within the State Partnership Program,"

said Col. Kevin Olson, director of communications for the Minnesota National Guard.

Through the State Partnership Program, administered by the National Guard Bureau and the Department of Defense, Minnesota and Croatia have worked together to build a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship for their respective military organizations and communities.

"Our partnership has been fruitful for our two organizations, understanding how we interact and

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cooperate as allies," said Col. Scott St. Sauver, Camp Ripley garrison commander.

Within the program, Croatia has asked for input on the development and reorganization of their current military training facility in Croatia. The paralleling of the Slunj Combat Training Center to that of the Camp Ripley Training Center will assist Croatia's future plans for hosting a NATO training facility capable of continuous, multi-organizational operations.

For over 80 years Camp Ripley has continued to be the premier training facility for the Minnesota National Guard. Within recent decades the state facility has grown to additionally support local, state and regional inter-agency partners for the purpose of training and resource management; making it a model for other military installations.

"Facilities like Camp Ripley are unique as we can devote local, state and federal initiatives to sustain our training and environmental programs, and it's that model that our partners would like to assimilate into their own priorities," said St. Sauver.

During her visit to Camp Ripley President Grabar-Kitarović, received an aerial briefing on the capabilities of the 53,000-acre training facility, as well as toured some of the newest features including the new education center, consolidated dining facility and multiple simulation trainers.

Additionally President Grabar-Kitarović and members of her staff met with Gov. Mark Dayton to discuss the expansion of cooperation in the area's cyber security and community relations.

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