CAMP RIPLEY -- Camp Ripley, Minnesota's 53,000-acre Army National Guard Training Center, was a first-time charm for Ohio National Guards 1st Battalion, 147th Armor for its annual training from July 8 until July 22.
The unit, which had a contingent of soldiers which made history last summer by forming Task Force 147th and being the first Guard unit to ever train at Hohenfels, Germany, as opposing forces (OPFOR), has trained previously at Fort Knox, Ky. Hohenfels is a battlefield where the U.S. Army Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, trains throughout the year.
The reason the Ohio unit trained at Camp Ripley was because Fort Knox did not have any openings.
Capt. Andy Anderson, commander of the unit's B Company, noted that training at Camp Ripley went well for several reasons, including the much cooler daytime temperatures, cooperation from all the camp staff and the staff's hospitality.
Spc. Jason Hauer of the Ohio Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 147th Armor Scout Platoon, fired a M-2 .50-caliber machine gun mounted on a Humvee in a record fire exercise during the unit's first training at Camp Ripley near Little Falls on July 17. (Camp Ripley Public Affairs Office Photos by Sgt. Clinton Wood)
"We're already starting to find a way to get back here," he said. "The time saved really helped us with our training."
He noted last summer at Fort Knox, several training days were stopped by 11 a.m. because of the heat, which reached 110 degrees. This heat would cause a Category 5 heat index to be issued. This is the highest category and the most training that can be done in an hour is 10 minutes.
"That's down time," Anderson commented. "(At Camp Ripley), once the range is (open) its hot."
In fact when the temperatures reached a sweltering 90 degrees to the local residents, Anderson said it still wasn't too hot to train.
"It was hot, but it didn't effect us," he said. He added that on one morning, his soldiers were even wearing their Gore-Tex jackets. "Wait it's July 17," Anderson said as he looked at the date on his watch.
The unit's training included Tank Gunnery Tables IV, V and VI, record firing with the M-2 .50-caliber machine gun and M-60 machine guns for the unit's scout platoon and even firing 16 very expensive 120 mm mortar rounds for the unit's mortar platoon. A scout platoon has 10 Humvees. Five have Mark 19 (MK19) 40 mm grenade launchers mounted on their turrets and five have M-2 .50-caliber machine guns mounted on their turrets.
The unit will have to wait at least a year before returning to Camp Ripley. Next summer it is slated to train at Camp Grayling, Mich.
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