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Wednesday, July 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

No Black Helicopters, Army Tells Texans

SAN ANTONIO (CN) - A seven-state Army training exercise has Texas extremists up in arms, claiming it could be a front for a military takeover.

The U.S. Army Special Operations Command says the only unusual aspect of the Jane Helm 15 training exercise is the size and scope of the eight-week mission.

The multistate exercise, which will include Green Berets, Navy SEALS and the Marine Special Operations Command, is to run from July 15 to Sept. 15, in parts of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, California and Nevada.

But social media postings and conspiracy-theorist websites such as InfoWars claim that the training exercise is much more. Recent claims include, "the feds are getting ready to invade Texas," and that the training exercise will prepare troops to have citizens "thrown into FEMA camps."

"It's going to be in your backyard," Joe Biggs, an InfoWars reporter, said in a taped segment.

Biggs and others point to an Army Special Operations Command PowerPoint presentation that shows Texas, Utah, and a small part of California labeled as "hostile" territory.

The slide show says that some of the 1,200 service members participating in Jade Helm will wear civilian clothes, drive civilian vehicles and "may conduct suspicious activities designed to prepare them for complex environments oversees."

It warns that citizens can expect an increased military presence and a spike in aircraft traffic at night.

The Army says much of the exercise will be conducted in remote areas, with the permission of private landowners, state and local authorities. Area officials are being informed of the scope of the project.

"It's a training exercise, just a regular training exercise," Army Special Operations Command spokesman Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria told Army Times.

The exercise will allow participants to practice core special warfare tasks, "which help protect the nation against foreign enemies," the Army said in a statement.

"This exercise is routine training to maintain a high level of readiness for Army Special Operations Forces since they must be ready to support potential missions anywhere in the world at a moment's notice," the Army said.

It said the most noticeable effect to local communities will be the noise from military air traffic and vehicles.

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