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'Robin Sage' exercise to begin

Posted Wednesday, October 12, 2005

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Fort Bragg, NC - Students attending the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) here will participate in a two-week training exercise across a 15-county area in central North Carolina beginning Oct. 15, officials at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (SWCS) announced Oct. 11.

The exercise, called "Robin Sage," will encompass the counties of Alamance, Anson, Chatham, Davidson, Guilford, Hoke, Montgomery, Moore, Randolph, Richmond, Robeson, Rowan, Scotland, Stanly and Union.

Scheduled to end Oct. 29, the exercise has been coordinated with public safety officials throughout the affected area. Residents in the affected communities may hear blank gunfire and see occasional flares, neither of which poses any risk to persons or property. Residents who encounter a problem should contact local law enforcement officials, who will immediately contact exercise control officials.

Conducted by the 1st Special Warfare Training Group here, Robin Sage is designed to provide prospective Special Forces Soldiers with realistic training in unconventional warfare. It is the capstone training exercise for the SFQC.

Robin Sage has been conducted for more than 40 years with the help of both civilian authorities and the citizens of central North Carolina. To add to the realism of the exercise, auxiliary forces consisting of civilian volunteers throughout the state will act as role-players during the training. Participation by these auxiliary members is crucial to the success of the Special Forces training, and anecdotal evidence gathered from past trainees attests to the realism they add to the exercise.

The students conduct the unconventional warfare training scenario in the notional country of Pineland. Support for the exercise is provided from units across Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base to provide realistic opposing and guerrilla forces for the country of Pineland.

Safety is the number-one priority for this exercise, and to ensure that a number of safety measures have been implemented into the exercise. Safety measures incorporated during this exercise include:

- Formal written notification is given to the chiefs of the law enforcement agencies in the affected counties, with a follow up visit from a unit representative.

- All civilian and non-student military participants are briefed on procedures to follow if there is contact with law enforcement officials.

- Personnel role-playing as Pineland law enforcement officers wear distinctive hats and armbands.

- Students are instructed and tested on the exercise's rules of engagement. This includes procedures to follow if there is contact with law enforcement personnel during the exercise.

- Students will only wear civilian clothes if the tactical situation warrants, as determined by the instructors and will wear a distinctive armband.

Official at SWCS appreciate the help and consideration the citizens of North Carolina extend to the soldiers participating in the exercise and ask for their continued understanding of any inconveniences the training may cause. Questions concerning the exercise should be referred to Maj. David Connolly of the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School Public Affairs Office at (910) 396-8390/9394.

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