DILLEY, Texas (Tribune News Service) — Jade Helm 15 — a two-month, seven-state Army Special Operations training exercise — is scheduled to start Wednesday, prompting concerns among some residents, especially in Texas, where the governor ordered the state guard to monitor it.
A town hall meeting this spring drew hundreds of residents to one of the training sites in central Texas, where an Army spokesman was inundated with questions from conspiracy theorists who had traveled from across the state. Late Tuesday, the Army released a statement again attempting to allay residents’ fears by clarifying what soldiers will be doing, and where.
When we occasionally discuss the civil-military divide in our society today, it’s stuff like this that is our concern. It wasn’t terribly long ago that large scale maneuvers by the Army on both public and private lands were fairly routine. The obvious examples are the Louisiana Maneuvers and the Carolina Maneuvers, massive exercises conducted in those respective states just before our entry into World War II.
Even since then, there have been some fairly large exercises off post. When the Howze Board was designing the future of Army Aviation in the early 1960s, many of its tests took place over vast swaths of the American souteast, and off post.
Even today, residents of Western Washington are quite used to seeing convoys of Army vehicles traveling the public highways enroute from Joint Base Lewis-McChord to Yakima Firing Center, a major maneuver space for the Army.
That some folks are up in arms over the presence of a couple hundred troops in a state that has pretty much the largest number of Army troops based there already is embarrassing.