CAMP RIPLEY. - The 99th Infantry Battalion (Separate), formed and activated on Camp Ripley July 19, 1942, is the only active duty unit to have ever been created on Camp Ripley. Family members of these honored warriors gathered Sept. 27 at the Camp Ripley Town Hall to see each other, share stories and remember.
“The 99th was a unique unit which consisted of Norwegians and Americans with direct Norwegian descent,” said Bruce Bjorgum, son of ‘99er’ 1st Lt. Robert Bjorgum.
Though many on the 99th’s roster have passed away, the families of these men attend the reunions and events that retrace the history of their loved ones; Camp Ripley being one such place.
During World War II, the federal government utilized Camp Ripley to support large-scale Army maneuvers involving Regular Army and National Guard troops. Thousands of federal troops to received basic and advanced training here. Camp Ripley’s purpose as a summer training camp, built in the 1930s, for National Guard Soldiers evolved as did the facilities did over the next few years.
“I remember my dad’s stories about ‘tent living’ on Camp Ripley,” said Harlin Hanson, Son of “99er” Cpl. Harold Hanson. “They had to chop down the tall grass with their bayonets, and the snowfall in September 1942 collapsed their tents.”