The Marines have 150 secret helicopter landing sites prepared for two
weeks of exercises in civilian areas throughout the Atlanta area — but
they say the public won’t notice them.
Operation TRUEX, Training in an Urban Environment Exercise, is now in
full operation as the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit conducts training
– but the details remain a secret.
Operation TRUEX involves about 400 Marines and sailors who are
preparing for deployment to the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean region in
November. The training and scheduled deployment are part of the normal
rotation of troops in and out of various parts of the world, according
to a Marine spokesman. Operation TRUEX began Monday and will continue
for two weeks.
The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit from Camp Lejeune, N.C., will be
based at Dobbins Air Reserve Base and Naval Air Station in Smyrna, Ga.
Some of the training activities will take place in those locations, out
of public view.
The Marines and sailors are trained to handle evacuations, provide
humanitarian assistance, recover downed aircraft and personnel, conduct
a search and seizure, and other similar activities.
The live training in a civilian environment in Atlanta will help them
to be better prepared to handle emergencies in the Mediterranean,
according to statements issued by the Marines. Marine officials assert
the training is not intended to prepare Marines to conduct such missions
within the U.S.
Very little activity will take place in public view, according to a
Marine spokesman. The Marines refused to give details of the training
locations, dates or times. They did say that private property would be
used at no charge from owners who were happy to help.
In an effort to make the training simulations as real as possible,
simulated ammunition will be used, according to the Marines. Every
effort will be taken to avoid accidents or injuries to civilians, they
The Marines did say that the most obvious part of the training
exercise would be a large number of helicopters flying low over the
city. There will be more than a dozen helicopters, including “Super
Cobra” gunships and the large CH-46E “Sea Knight” transports.
Approximately 150 possible landing zones for the helicopters have
been approved in advance. The Marines would not give the locations or
give any details about those sites. They did say that many of the
locations are outside the boundaries of Atlanta.
“Actual locations and times of training cannot be released in order
to keep the exercise as realistic as possible for the Marines,”
explained the Marines in a prepared statement. Residents and businesses
near each training location will be given a warning just before the
exercise begins, if possible. The Marines would not promise a notice
will be given and only said they would “make every effort” to inform
local authorities and residents.
Marines have been regularly conducting training exercises in major
U.S. cities prior to each deployment since 1985, according to Marine
documents obtained by WorldNetDaily.
“As America’s 911 Force, the Marines have been called upon to conduct
operations in a variety of environments. TRUEX allows the units to
prepare for the ever-growing reality of urban warfare. These exercises
have been extensively coordinated with local, state and federal
government officials,” said the prepared statement.
Phone messages were left for Atlanta police, fire and elected
officials, but none returned phone calls to WorldNetDaily.
“We exist to protect the larger community which, in return, nurtures
and sustains us,” stated Gen. James L. Jones, commandant of the Marine
Corps, in a news release about Operation TRUEX.
Training in U.S. cities is necessary to prepare Marines for possible
fighting in cities overseas, according to Marine documents. Fighting in
and around buildings is different than fighting in jungles, woods or
open fields, the service says.
The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit is one of seven such units. It has
a strength of about 2,200 personnel and is made up of a Command Element,
Ground Combat Element, an Aviation Combat Element and a Combat Service