Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division of Fort Campbell Ky., conduct an exercise with a CH-47 Chinook helicopter. Photo: U.S. Department of Defense.
Following up on recent and unannounced training exercises in Florida and Washington state, the U.S. military is conducting a drill in Chicago.
The Windy City’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) told the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday it is providing support for “routine military training exercises,” including flying helicopters in the downtown area of the city at night.
“The training sites have been carefully selected to minimize the impact on the daily routine of residents,” the OEMC said in a statement released to the public.
According to a 2013 U.S. Census Bureau report, 2,695,598 people live in Chicago. Population density is 11,841.8 residents per square mile, making it one of the most populated urban areas in the United States.
The “realistic urban training” conducted by the U.S. Special Operations Command, based at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, includes the participation of soldiers from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment headquartered in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
According to the Tribune, the training is designed to prepare military personnel for overseas deployments.
In July, we reported on an Army exercise conducted in Port Angeles, Washington, that turned the small city into a simulated war zone and terrorized residents. Frightened citizens flooded the police with phone calls complaining about low flying Chinook helicopters.
“Because of the volume of the complaints that we heard, I want to let the Army base know that if it’s necessary to fly over populated areas, we want advance notice,” Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict told the Peninsula Daily News on July 12.
In January, we reported on the U.S. Army along with other agencies taking over the Carnegie Vanguard High School in Houston, Texas. Alarmed residents called police and complained about gunshots and helicopters.
Earlier that month, a training exercise “designed to ensure that military personnel are able to operate in urban areas and to focus on preparations for overseas deployment” rattled residents of Miami, Florida. The exercise included simulated machine gun fire over a downtown Miami freeway.
Military helicopters over Chicago, July 23, 2013:
Earlier this month a Democrat member of the Chicago City Council called for putting troops on the streets in response to a wave of violence. “I’m calling for the National Guard to come to Chicago and ride up and down these streets,” declared Rep. Monica Davis. She demanded the Governor of Illinois, Patrick Quinn, deploy the State Police and the National Guard. In addition, Davis suggested Quinn appoint a task force to “guide the behavior of the National Guard. We don’t want them to have us fearing them also. We want them there for safety and protection,” The News Gazette reported on July 10. The move by Davis demonstrates the readiness of government bureaucrats to propose militarized solutions to social problems.
Alex Jones and others have linked increased military exercises conducted in populated urban areas to an effort by the government and the military to acclimate the citizenry to the presence of combat troops on American streets.
In addition to increased military exercises, the federal government and the United States Northern Command announced the deployment of military units for domestic homeland security missions. In September, 2008, the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team was assigned various tasks including “civil unrest and crowd control,” a detail that was later denied by Northcom despite the concession that forces would be armed with both non-lethal and lethal weapons as well as having access to tanks, we reported on November 4, 2008.
“In the next three years the military plans to activate and train an estimated 4,700 service members for specialized domestic operations, according to Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, commander of U.S. Northern Command, which was created in 2002 for homeland defense missions,” reported the Colorado Independent on November 2, 2008.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency added to the heightened state of domestic militarization in 2012 when it announced it had graduated its first class of FEMA Corps members under the rubric of emergency response preparedness. “While the idea of having a volunteer force of tens of thousands of volunteers scattered across the country to aid in times of natural disasters sounds great, the details and timing of this new government army is somewhat curious, if not disturbing,” Infowars.com noted on October 18, 2002.
“Over the past two years, President Obama has signed a number of Executive Orders suspending all civil and Constitutional rights and turning over management of an America under Martial Law to FEMA. Also in that time, domestic federal agencies under DHS, including FEMA, have ordered billions of rounds of ammunition as well as the corresponding firearms. Admittedly, these new weapons and ammunition aren’t to be used in some far-off war or to fight forest fires in California, but right here on the streets of America.