Cass County Board: Camp Ripley official updates county on 2022 activities, 2023 events
Brig. Gen. Lowell Kruse, senior commander at Camp Ripley, is in his sixth and final year in the post.
BACKUS — Brig. Gen. Lowell Kruse, senior commander at Camp Ripley, continued his farewell tour of local area governments.
Kruse presented the 2022 Camp Ripley annual update on the Army National Guard facility’s activities to Cass County commissioners Tuesday, April 18. Kruse told board members this is his sixth and final year as senior commander of Camp Ripley and as assistant adjutant general for the Army.
In 2022, Camp Ripley had a total of $75,194,222 expenditures with payroll expenses being $55,049,879 through employing 800-1,000 state and federal employees. Kruse said over the past three years construction costs averaged $15,337,738, though during 2022 Camp Ripley spent $9,647,380 on construction. However, there are more projects planned for 2023, he said.
Camp Ripley hosted 508,178 Department of Defense and 74,141 local/state interagency partner days, multiple joint training events, two State Patrol Academies and celebrated the 50th anniversary of NOREX, the troop exchange and training with Norway, Kruse said. Camp Ripley also continues to promote its cold weather training by hosting winter dive school training for the United States Coast Guard and a Navy Dive Course.
Kruse shared upcoming events and training for 2023, with the primary military training running May through August, and also noted the Air Force will be conducting personnel drops during the month of May. Other events include Minnesota Officer Candidate school; hosting various National Guard units from surrounding states; a youth camp; youth archery, public archery and muzzleloader hunts; and other various state training.
Camp Ripley will host its annual open house 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 17. This is open to the public for tours of the facility. Some of the camp’s other community outreach programs include: field tours; participation in area festivals; outreach programs to tribal communities; game hunts for disabled veterans; the Trolling for the Troops fishing event; and celebrations with special programs for National Public Lands Day, Earth Day, Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
In 2022, the camp collected 500 pounds of food, which was donated to the Motley Food Shelf and hosted blood drives, which led to the collection of 324 units.
Kruse also mentioned each year Camp Ripley tries to burn off a fifth of its property in a prescribed burn to reduce the rise of unplanned fires and create a safe training environment for soldiers. They were able to begin some of the prescribed burning this past weekend and plan on performing the majority during the month of May.