This was one of many joint military-local law enforcement exercises that had come to my attention in less than one month. Held in cities across the U.S., they were becoming more common and more intense. But why? Why train in populated towns and cities where accidents could produce unnecessary casualties?
The Gazette further reported that the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit will train within Ridgeland town limits. The times and exact locations for the training are not being announced, according to 2nd Lt. Gerard R. Farao.
A little background on the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU). It is one of seven Marine Expeditionary Units. A MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force with a strength of about 2,200 personnel. The MEU consists of four major parts: a command element, a ground combat element, an aviation combat element, and a logistics element. The 26th MEU was establishment in the early 1970s and has deployed extensively, and participated in numerous combat and contingency operations. The 26th MEU is based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
I was once stationed at Camp Lejuene, NC. As a Navy Corpsman, I helped care for Marines. I tell you this because inevitably there will be those that assume I hold some anti-military motive. Quite the contrary. This writer is a Navy veteran, receiver of a Navy Commendation medal for lifesaving, Fleet Marine Force Expeditionary medal (2) and several letters of commendation – among other ribbons and medals. I also spent time at Camp Lejuene.
At no time during my time there were “realistic urban training” exercises conducted in towns and cities. This is a recent development.
According to 2nd Lt. Farao, and reported by the Gazette, residents will likely see and hear military vehicles and possibly see aircraft. Farao states the training is part of a certification for deployment to Mediterranean and African shores. Furthermore, he stated participants will be in uniform and carry weapons. Some exercises will take place at night and residents might hear “popping” sounds as Marines fire blanks.
The training has been coordinated with local, county and state agencies and officials, including the Ridgeland police and fire departments, according to a Marine Corps news release.
Although there is no danger, Farao said residents should stay away if they see training under way or uniformed personnel.
Realistic Urban Training is happening all over the U.S. In Miami, Florida on January 26, 2013, Army Backhawk helicopters swooped through the city at night, firing door-guns and chasing make-believe bad guys like something out of an action movie. The fired blanks echoed off of the buildings, scaring many residents into taking cover. The local news reported excitedly about the exercise, stating it was only a drill and for residents not to be concerned. However, there was no journalistic follow up asking hard questions. Such as, who authorized an exercise without informing the public? Why conduct this type of training in a populated U.S. city and put citizens at risk? Isn’t this a violation of Posse Comitatus? No hard follow up questions were asked, and to my knowledge, have not been since.
Not even when the same exercise occurred in Houston, Texas on January 29, 2013. The U.S. Army along with other agencies took over the Carnegie Vanguard High School in Houston on Monday. Alarmed residents called police and complained about gunshots and helicopters. No details were provided about the training. Watch the KTRK-TV Houston report and hear how alarmed residents responded after hearing gunshots and seeing military helicopters flying over their homes.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013. The same types of exercises were conducted in Galveston, Texas. The Houston Chronicle reported The training involved about 80 soldiers from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command in coordination with local law enforcement. According to Sgt. 1st Class Michael Noggle, an Army spokesman based at Fort Bragg, N.C., “We were invited by the city of Galveston to conduct joint training exercises to enhance the effectiveness of both services in order to better protect the residents of Galveston.”
He went on to say in an email that “The purpose of the realistic urban training is to give our Special Operators an opportunity to hone their skills in a controlled, but unfamiliar, realistic urban environment that cannot be replicated with the bare-boned facades found on military installation ranges.”
I’ve highlighted a few examples, but there are more. In a search I came upon these others. Los Angeles, CA, Plainville and Worchester, Massachusetts. As reported in the other stories, residents were unaware of the drills until helicopters swooped over their neighborhoods. And here’s more: Minneapolis, MN, and this in East Saint Louis, MO. There are many more, but these links provide a foundation for further research.
I spoke with a high-ranking, military source in DHS. Preferring to remain unnamed for obvious reasons, he told me, “DHS and DOD are conducting desensitizing exercises all across the U.S.,” he paused, then added, “we’re being prepared for mass civil unrest in major U.S. cities. DOD will be expected to help – when we’re requested.”
I asked if there was a timeline for expecting civil unrest in our cities and why should we expect it to begin with. I was told that there were many reasons, but that the continued devaluation of our currency, the predicted history-setting prices for gasoline this summer and the continued gun control debate are forming a perfect storm of civil discontent. When this storm hits, it will most assuredly produce mass casualties. When does DHS expect this to happen? This summer.
From a high-ranking source deep within DHS, who has strong DOD ties, we are being told that joint DOD-local law enforcement exercises are to desensitize us to military occupation. When asked if there was any concern about violating Posse Comitatus, he stated “no concern at all,” and added, “That’s been a non-issue for a long time.”
Reuters recently reported Jesse Jackson’s request for armed TSA in the streets of Chicago. Is it no longer a question of IF we see armed soldiers patrolling U.S. streets – but WHEN? And notice the way most mainstream media presents these training exercises. They are presented nearly like entertainment. The ones approaching public service announcements mostly center on what areas to avoid because of traffic closures.
No major concerns about military patrolling our streets are being spoken in national dialogue. Those that do are assigned fringe status. But in closing, I’d ask where do these training orders originate? Who is responsible for issuing the orders and at what level in DOD/DHS do they originate from? Since it crosses all military branches, we can assume it comes from the highest levels. Perhaps we should begin asking our elected officials to dig a little deeper into the subject. And if they will not, perhaps we – the People – should.