Special Forces candidates prepare for Robin Sage

By: By Beth Lawrence - Staff Reporter

LAURINBURG – Special Forces Units will be invading Richmond County later this month when Special Forces trainees complete their instruction at Camp McKall.

Student candidates from U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School in Fort Bragg will participate in the Robin Sage training exercise from Jan. 27 to Feb. 8. Exercises are held in 15 counties across the state and are the final test for Special Forces Qualification Course training.

Students are required to participate in the exercise before graduating the course and being given their first assignments in the Army’s Special Forces units.

Robin Sage training has been conducted since 1974.

Alamance, Anson, Cabarrus, Chatham, Davidson, Guilford, Hoke, Montgomery, Moore, Randolph, Richmond, Rowan, Scotland, Stanly and Union counties make up a fictitious country designated as Pineland. During the course of the exercise, Special Forces candidates and Robin Sage role-players conduct training missions such as controlled assaults and key-leader engagements and live, eat and sleep in civilian areas.

All Robin Sage movements and events are coordinated with local public safety officials in the towns and counties hosting the training.

Fort Bragg officials warn that residents may hear blank gunfire and see occasional flares, but control measures are in place to ensure there is no risk to locals or their property. Residents with concerns are advised contact local law enforcement officials, who will contact exercise control officials.

“For the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, safety is always the command’s top priority during all training events” base officials said in a press release.

Coordinators have put the following safety measures in place:

• Provided formal written notice to the chiefs of law enforcement agencies in the affected counties, with a follow-up visit from a unit representative.

• Briefed all civilian and non-student military participants on procedures to follow if there is contact with law enforcement officials.

• Students will only wear civilian clothes if the situation warrants, as determined by the instructors, and will wear a brown armband if required to be in civilian clothes.

• Training areas and vehicles used during exercises will be clearly labeled.

Military service members from units across Fort Bragg will also support the exercise. These military members will act as opposing forces and guerrilla freedom fighters, called Pineland’s Resistance Movement and play a critical role in the training exercise. To add realism of the exercise, civilian volunteers throughout the state also act as role-players.

“Robin Sage is the U.S. military’s premiere unconventional warfare exercise and the final test of over a year’s worth of training for aspiring Special Forces soldiers,” officials said. “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.

“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.”

For questions or information, call the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School Public Affairs Office at 910-396-9394, or e-mail at pao_swcs@socom.mil.

In the event of an emergency, residents should call local law enforcement.

By Beth Lawrence

Staff Reporter

Reach Beth Lawrence 910-506-3169

Reach Beth Lawrence 910-506-3169