US Army’s annual ‘unconventional warfare exercise’ to span 25 NC counties

State News

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WNCN) – U.S. Army Special Forces candidates will take part in the final test of their qualification training later this month in an exercise that will cross much of central North Carolina.

The Robin Sage training exercise will take place Jan. 22-Feb. 4 with students from the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg.

Members of the military and civilians take part in Robin Sage as Special Forces students face opposing forces of the fictional nation of “Pineland.”

Military members will pose as opposing forces and guerrilla freedom fighters, also known as Pineland’s resistance movement.

In order to maintain a level of realism, blank gunfire and flares are used in the training, the Army said.

The Army has been in contact with local public safety officials ahead of the training.

“Controls are in place to ensure there is no risk to persons or property. Residents with concerns should contact local law enforcement officials, who will immediately contact exercise control officials,” Fort Bragg officials said in a release.

The Army said the following measures have been implemented:

  • Formal written notification to the chiefs of 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.
  • Students will only wear civilian clothes if the situation warrants, as determined by the instructors, and will wear a distinctive brown armband during these instances.
  • Training areas and vehicles used during exercises are clearly labeled.

During 2002’s training, Deputy Sheriff Randall Butler shot and killed 1st L.t Tallas Tomeny and wounded Staff Sgt. Stephen Phelps after the deputy saw their behavior as suspicious.

Butler was unaware the training was occurring.

Parts of Robin Sage will be held in the following North Carolina counties:

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 counties.

The training will also stretch into Chesterfield, Dillon, and Marlboro counties in South Carolina.

“Robin Sage is the U.S. military’s premiere unconventional warfare exercise and the final test of over a year’s worth of training for aspiring Special Forces Soldiers. Candidates 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,” the Army said in a release.

Robin Sage has been conducted since 1974.

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