McEntire Joint National Guard Base is giving their neighbors fair warning to expect a little noise and activity during the week ahead.
To make a special training exercise as realistic as possible, participants will use training ammunition and a number of low-flying aircraft during late-night and pre-dawn combat scenarios.
“The type of exercises that we have going on out here next week, they’re occurring at unusual hours,” said Major Jim Roth, Public Affairs Officer for the 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard, “What folks who are in the immediate and surrounding areas can expect to hear is low-flying aircraft, maybe the sounds of gun-fire on base, and obviously the potential for a rude awakening if our neighbors aren’t aware that we’re going to have such activity going on.”
The South Carolina Air National Guard base is hosting soldiers from Fort Benning’s 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, as well as Army and Air Force special operations units from Florida and Kentucky.
“We’ve basically opened the base up to our friends in the Army,” Roth said, “The Army Rangers who are going to be on base exercising make (it) as realistic as possible. So we basically turn off all the lights and create an environment where they can have as accurate a simulation of that combat environment as possible.”
This is a routine exercise designed to maintain high levels of readiness for the military personnel involved. Roth explains that as many as 1,000 troops will participate.
Roth explains the significance of their conducting this exercise in South Carolina. “There aren’t too many installations like ours that are able to turn the lights out and go completely dark for them and have as much room as we do for them to move around and create a realistic combat scenario environment. So, it’s significant and we ‘re very proud to be able to offer that.”
Maj. Roth commented on what it’s like to host an exercise like this. “Well it’s cool,” he says. “It’s really exciting for those of us who are able to be on base, for example and be in the tower to watch the exercise unfold. It’s very exciting to see these guys who are obviously at the top of the heap when it comes to combat capabilities. To see them in action is really something.”
While officials will take every measure to reduce the amount of nighttime noise, Maj. Roth emphasized once again the impotance that their neighbors know what to expect.
Late night and pre-dawn military exercises are scheduled during special training August 14-17 throughout much of the area surrounding the Eastover base.