Unannounced Army “Drill” Causes Alarm in Small NW Washington St. City

Posted: November 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

Last Thursday night, 7-11-13, residents of the small city of Port Angeles,WA were rudely shaken from their slumber by the roar of helicopters shortly before midnight. Dozens of concerned residents called local authorities seeking information. It wasn’t until noon Friday that authorities tracked the aircraft (two CHINOOK and two BLACKHAWK helicopters) to their Joint Base, Lewis-McChord, just outside of Tacoma, WA.  From foxnews.com, “The training exercise involved part of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, which is based at Fort Campbell, Ky., but has individual units in various locations, said Sgt. Jimmy Norris, an I Corps spokesman at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash. Part of the 160th is based at Lewis-McChord”, he said.According to Army sources, the 160th transports special operations soldiers during their missions. Port Angeles Mayor Cherie Kidd will be meeting with garrison commander Army Col. H. Charles Hodges, Jr. to demand answers as to why no prior notice was given to local law enforcement or the public about the exercise . Several residents complained of children being awakened and pets and other livestock being spooked by the lights and noise of the low flying aircraft. Clallam Co. Sheriff Bill Benedict said to the Peninsula Daily News ““Because of the volume of the complaints that we heard, I want to let the Army base know that if it’s necessary to fly over populated areas, we want advance notice,”. Although a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) was issued by the FAA prior to the incident, the information is not forwarded to local LE agencies, although it is available to the public.

Far from being an isolated incident, the Army,DHS and local LE authorities have been conducting “drills” over many metropolitan areas in the last few years, (see this, this, this and this)As recently as this past spring, exercises were conducted over Houston and Los Angeles, where there were reports of gunfire (blanks) in conjunction with the overflights. These “drills” are  raising concerns among affected residents and local authorities of what will happen when an individual or group fires back, thinking they are under an actual attack. Another concern is the danger involved with operating these aircraft over large populated areas. Who will be responsible, and what will be done when one of these birds pile into a residential area?

The reasons given for these operations is to give special ops personnel and local LE joint training in urban environments, which leads to the question: What cities in Iraq, Iran or Afghanistan resemble Miami, Los Angeles, Port Angeles or Houston?

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