Residents of 28 counties in North and South Carolina will be hearing a lot of gunfire later this month as the U.S. Army plans a major training exercise.
The Robin Sage training exercise is a final test for those wanting to join America’s Special Forces, according to a report by the Charlotte Observer.
From Jan. 22 through Feb. 4, the soldiers wanting to join the Special Forces will be fighting against so-called freedom fighters.
The exercise covers privately owned land in the North Carolina counties of Alamance, Anson, Bladen, Brunswick, Cabarrus, Chatham, Columbus, Cumberland, Davidson, Guilford, Harnett, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, New Hanover, Randolph, Richmond, Robeson, Rowan, Sampson, Scotland, Stanly, Union, and Wake.
Chesterfield, Dillon, and Marlboro counties in South Carolina are also part of the battle for control of a fictional place called Pineland.
The Army’s John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, based at Fort Bragg, said the exercise was being announced in advance to ensure residents know what is taking place.
“Residents may hear blank gunfire and see occasional flares. Controls are in place to ensure there is no risk to persons or property,” the warfare center said in a statement.
“Residents with concerns should contact local law enforcement officials, who will immediately contact exercise control officials. … For the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, safety is always the command’s top priority during all training events,” the statement said.
The training has had tragic consequences.
In 2002, Moore County Deputy Sheriff Randall Butler killed 1st Lt. Tallas Tomeny and wounded Staff Sgt. Stephen Phelps during the training. He said he was unaware of the exercise, according to WNCN-TV.
Phelps later sued the sheriff’s office and won a $750,000 settlement, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.
US Army Special Forces exercise in guerilla war games to be held in several NC counties: be aware https://t.co/8ZLRanlEO9
— Harry Gordon (@bigbassfan) January 11, 2022
The “enemy” in the exercise is recruited from units at Fort Bragg as well as trained civilians.
“These military members act as realistic opposing forces and guerrilla freedom fighters, also known as Pineland resistance movement,” the center said.
“To add realism … civilian volunteers throughout the state act as role players. Participation by these volunteers is crucial to the success of this training, and past trainees attest to the realism they add to the exercise,” the center said.
The annual “Robin Sage” exercise starts earlier this year. Runs Jan 22nd and Feb 4th in central NC. Don’t be surprised if you see increased military activity, you are now living in “Pineland”! https://t.co/loSxvYwacX
— Mark Cavaliero (@MarkCavaliero) January 11, 2022
In light of the 2002 incident, “All Robin Sage movements and events have been coordinated with public safety officials throughout and within the towns and counties hosting the training,” officials said.
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