By: Julia Deng for NewsWest 9
BIG SPRING – A large-scale military exercise set to run from July 15 to November 15 has sparked rampant conspiracy theories involving everything from Walmart to martial law.
The Special Operations mission, called Jade Helm 15, is just another training opportunity to “practice core special warfare tasks,” according to United States Army representatives.
“The size and scope of Jade Helm sets this one apart,” said Army Special Operations Command officials. “To stay ahead of environment challenges faced overseas, Jade Helm will take place across seven states… The diverse terrain in these states replicates areas Special Operations Soldiers regularly find themselves operating in overseas.”
Special Operations Forces will only train in five states: Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado.
According to Jade Helm operations planners, training will only be conducted on private and public land with the permission of landowners or regional authorities.
“In essence, all exercise activity will be taking place on pre-coordinated public and private lands,” stated an Army Special Operations Command press release.
Those “pre-coordinated lands” include the City of Big Spring.
After an Army presentation last month during a Big Spring City Council meeting, city officials granted Army Special Operations Command permission to train within city boundaries.
“Is it going to affect the community?” said Councilman Bobby McDonald. “Well, of course it will affect the community because they will be here. There should be no disruption. The community will be aware sometimes that they’re here, and sometimes the community won’t be aware. Sometimes they will be in uniform, and sometimes they will not be in uniform.”
Jade Helm operations planner Thomas Meade said during the meeting that all troops involved “will be wearing an arm band with a marking that identifies them as part of the exercise.”
He said local residents “participating or role playing in the exercise” would also have distinct markings.
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