LITTLE FALLS, Minn. (WCCO) – Service members from across the country are in Minnesota attending cold water diving training at Camp Ripley.
Both the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy are leveraging the state’s winter weather to advance their skills.
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It’s not Virginia Beach, many people are used to. But for fleet divers hoping to test their cold-water skills, the frozen lake at Camp Ripley is perfect. The Navy and Coast Guard partnered with the Minnesota National Guard for annual training at Camp Ripley, a task as much physical as it is mental.
“All morning I was preparing a little bit and you can see it on the faces of the guys when they are going to dive,” said Senior Chief Master Diver Ryan Ilagan.
Ilagan is from California. This is the coldest water he has ever been in. Once underwater, divers are closely monitored while performing exercises.
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“We do not have the opportunity to get into an environment like this, and we look at the potential future conflicts, what they might look like, the ice, extreme weather high north is an operating environment we expect to have to operate in and do. it successfully, ”Cmdr. said Steve Cobos.
Officials said traveling to Minnesota is not only cost-effective, but also a perfect landscape to train in the cold weather.
“Having these tents and having these heaters out here also supplied by Camp Ripley, they definitely keep us warm,” said Navy Diver First Class Daniel Glover.
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The U.S. Coast Guard will train classes into February. Minnesota National Guard officials said having these trainings at Camp Ripley is also a boost to the local economy in nearby small towns.