BACKUS — Brig. Gen. Lowell Kruse presented the 2021 Camp Ripley annual update on the Army National Guard facility’s activities to Cass County commissioners Tuesday, May 4.

The 2020 Ripley payroll saw an increase to $61,969,063 due mainly to the increased amount of soldiers on active duty during 2020. Its total 2020 expenditures were $93,594,014.

Kruse stated that even with the challenges of COVID-19 during 2020, Camp Ripley was still able to host some training with more being planned coming up. Camp Ripley is promoting its cold weather training. This past winter, the camp hosted a winter dive school training for the United States Coast Guard. The Department of Natural Resources canceled its annual training for this year but the DNR plans on resuming it in 2022. Also, the Department of Transportation will be resuming its annual snowplow training this September. Along with these various training opportunities, Camp Ripley plans to host its annual fall open house the second weekend of September, which was canceled last year due to COVID-19.

Kruse also addressed the response given this past summer during the civil unrest in Minneapolis. He stated troops were preparing to leave for deployment when a call was received from Gov. Tim Walz. Within 12 hours, Camp Ripley provided and deployed about 6,500 soldiers to the Twin Cities. Camp Ripley also assisted with the extra security provided during the recent Derek Chauvin trial.

Kruse also said Camp Ripley received the 2020 Army National Guard Cultural Resource Conservation Award. Out of the past four years, Camp Ripley received various cultural or natural resource awards.

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Because of COVID-19 restrictions, recruitment numbers have been down. Limited access to schools, or students not attending school in-person during the pandemic, also restricted recruitment opportunities and visits. As restrictions begin to lift, Kruse said he feels there will be more opportunities to visit and recruit high school students.