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Army exercise includes Chatham County

Posted Friday, July 29, 2005

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Robin Sage' exercise to begin

Fort Bragg, N.C. - Students attending the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) here will conduct a two-week training exercise across a 15-county area in central North Carolina beginning July 29, officials at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (SWCS) announced July 26.

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 August 13, 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. In addition to support from units across Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base, Army cadets from ROTC and West Point and Marines from the recruit depot at Paris Island, S.C., will also send personnel to assist 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.

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Officials 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 Kathleen Devine of the U. S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School Public Affairs Office at (910) 396-9394/8390.

 
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