Students seeking to earn the title of Special Forces Solider will be coming to Harnett and surrounding counties very soon.
According to the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, which is based at Fort Bragg, students in the program will utilize surrounding counties during the two-week long culmination exercise.
Harnett, Alamance, Anson, Cabarrus, Chatham, Cumberland, Davidson, Davie, Guilford, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, Randolph, Richmond, Robeson, Rowan, Scotland, Stanly, Union and Wake counties will temporarily become the fictional country of Pineland.
During the exercise, military and civilian support personnel will participate during the exercise that is slated to get underway Aug. 30 and continue until Sept. 12. There will also be units from Fort Bragg participating in what is dubbed a Robin Sage exercise.
The support troops from Fort Bragg will act as realistic opposing forces and guerrilla freedom fighters, known as Pineland’s resistance movement, according to a press release.
Civilian volunteers are also participating in order to add additional realism to the exercise by acting as role players.
All movements and events during the exercise will be coordinated with public safety officials throughout the counties hosting the training. Elements of the training include blank gunfire and occasional flares. The Army has implemented several controls to ensure no one outside the exercise will be at risk, the assurance the Army offers also applies to property.
If resident have any concerns, they should contact local law enforcement who will be able to contact the exercise control officials.
Measures implemented to ensure safety include: Formal written notifications to the chief law enforcement agencies in the participating counties, with follow-up visits by an Army representative; all civilian and non-student military participants are being briefed on procedures to follow if there is contact with law enforcement officials; students will wear civilian clothes if the situation warrants, as determined by the instructors and will wear a distinctive brown armband during those instances.
Additionally, training areas and vehicles used during the exercise will be clearly marked.
According to the press release, Robin Sage is an unconventional warfare exercise which acts as the final test after over a year of training for service members seeking their Special Forces distinction. Candidates for Green Berets are placed in an environment of political instability characterized by armed conflict, forcing soldiers to analyze and solve problems to meet the challenges of this real-world training.
Residents are urged to contact their local law enforcement agency should any emergency arise as a result of the training exercise.