Expect to hear more sounds of artillery training from Camp Ripley in August.

When Brig. Gen. Lowell Kruse, senior commander of Camp Ripley, spoke to the Baxter City Council in July, he joined the Zoom meeting to provide the annual overview and note the camp’s long-standing relationship with the city.

The camp hosted tank, field artillery, and Bradley vehicle firing in the winter so those units could train elsewhere in the summer. So, Kruse said, the camp produced a lot more noise in winter than usual. And after a relatively quiet summer, training should pick up next month.

Kruse said artillery firing is planned. Ten trains loaded with equipment are expected to return at the end of August with gunnery training in September, October and November before units deploy in January.

Baxter Mayor Darrel Olson said they appreciated the great relationship the city has with Camp Ripley. “It’s been beneficial to both of us,” Olson said. “We hope to continue that.”

Kruse said it’s in his strategic plan to partner with Baxter whenever possible.

“Thank you for your efforts,” Kruse said.

In other events, the camp met with Ojibwe tribal leaders and did a cultural exchange and invited tribal schools to Camp Ripley for a first event in the Planting for the Future event. They planted native grasses to replenish prairies. Kruse said it was a very successful event and tribal leaders had asked for an opportunity for their youths. It’s something Kruse said they want to continue as an annual event when they can figure out how to gather again.

Camp Ripley also:

  • Trained over 396,000 Department of Defense individual-days and more than 60,000 individual days for local and state interagency partners.

  • Hosted training of medical staff to conduct COVID-19 tests. Sorted and distributed more than $5 million of personal protective equipment. Distributed more than $6 million of other medical supplies for the response. Hosted monthly blood drives.

  • Started a pilot to support all 54 states and territories for a medical logistics warehouse.

  • Received three new fire trucks, allowing the camp to respond to more than 225 off-post fire calls and most of those for Gold Cross Ambulance calls, which the camp’s fire department also staffs. The camp signed a joint powers agreement with local fire departments in Morrison County and were assigned the Highway 371 corridor and area around Fort Ripley as a response area.

  • Total impact of $260,351,265 counting payroll, projects and local contracts, retirees, utilities, food and the Army Compatible Use Buffer.

  • Are renovating and installing long houses to replace the almost 100-year-old tin huts.

  • Undertook other new construction for the new fire department, an administrative building and electrical generators to serve as back-up generators at the substations. The last generator will be set this summer and then a control piece is needed to take Camp Ripley off the grid and run off the camp’s solar field in the day and off generators in case the grid goes down for some reason. The camp’s convenience store was also renovated.

  • In community outreach, the camp’s food drive delivered almost 800 pounds of food to the Morrison County food shelf.