Next Robin Sage Exercise Starts Friday
The next round of the Robin Sage training exercise begins Friday across 15 North Carolina counties as the final test for candidates in the Special Forces qualification course.
About 100 student soldiers will participate in this exercise before graduating and moving on to their first assignments in the Army’s Special Forces community. Robin Sage is a two-week exercise run eight times a year, once for each class of Special Forces candidates. The exercise runs through Oct. 24.
These candidates are students at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, based out of Fort Bragg.
The exercise’s notional country of Pineland encompasses 15 counties in North Carolina, including Moore, Alamance, Anson, Cabarrus, Chatham, Davidson, Guilford, Hoke, Montgo-mery, Randolph, Richmond, Rowan, Scotland, Stanly and Union counties.
Throughout the exercise, Special Forces candidates and Robin Sage role-players not only conduct training missions such as controlled assaults and key-leader engagements, but also live, eat and sleep in these civilian areas, an Army news release said.
All Robin Sage movements and events have been coordinated with public safety officials throughout and within the towns and counties hosting the training, the Army said in a news release. Residents may hear blank gunfire and see occasional flares.
“Controls are in place to ensure there is no risk to persons or property,” the Army release said. “Residents with concerns should contact local law enforcement officials.”
With the help of civilian authorities and local residents, Robin Sage has been conducted since 1974.
Safety is always the command’s top priority, the Army said. The following measures have been implemented:
n Formal written notification is sent to the chiefs of law enforcement agencies in the affected counties, with a follow-up visit from a unit representative.
n All civilian and nonstudent military participants are briefed on procedures to follow if there is contact with law enforcement officials.
n Students will only wear civilian clothes if the situation warrants, as determined by the instructors, and will wear a distinctive armband during these instances. Personnel role-playing as Pineland law enforcement officers wear distinctive hats and armbands, as well.
n Training areas and vehicles used during exercises are clearly labeled.
Additional controls were put in place following a tragic incident in 2003 when a Moore County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed one student soldier and wounded another near Robbins. The deputy was unaware that the two soldiers and their civilian driver were part of the training exercise. The soldiers assumed the deputy was part of the scenario.
Civilian and Army investigations cleared the deputy of wrongdoing, determining that it was a tragic case of misunderstanding.
About 200 military service members from units across Fort Bragg will also support the exercise. These military members act as realistic opposing forces and guerrilla freedom fighters, also known as Pineland’s resistance movement.
“These troops play a critical role in the training exercise,” the Army said in the release. “To add realism to the exercise, civilian volunteers throughout the state act as role-players. Participation by these volunteers is crucial to the success of this training, and past trainees attest to the realism they add to the exercise.”
As a part of the exercise, 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.
During this exercise, these future Special Forces soldiers must infiltrate areas in small groups and train guerrilla forces to liberate Pineland.
Students who successfully complete the training exercise will graduate the Special Forces Qualification Course in a ceremony Aug. 9 in Fayetteville. In addition, foreign military soldiers participating in Robin Sage and the qualification course as part of exchange programs will graduate the course and return to their nation’s military.
“We appreciate the support and consideration the citizens of North Carolina extend to the soldiers participating in the exercise and thank them for their understanding of any inconveniences the training may cause,” the Army said in the release.
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