Special forces coming to county to train
Col. Robert T. Dunton spoke to the Emery County Commission to provide information on the plans by U.S. Special Forces to conduct training in Emery County this coming June. The special forces aren't getting the quality of training they need given the limited scope of support available on military installations, at least, not without great expense for this exercise scenario, the soldiers will be providing training and assistance to an organized force trying to liberate itself from under an oppressive or imposed regime.
The French Resistance during WWII would be a historic example the exercise is patterned after. Training usually takes place on Department of the Defense managed lands and the more hazardous, kinetic events still will. But, recent Department of Defense Directive means the need for more non-kinetic training has expanded the scope of where training might take place. Several evaluations have taken place and it was determined Utah is a great place for training and Emery and Carbon counties in particular with the vast areas of public lands and a largely supportive populace. It was also asked of communities if they would be interested in hosting additional training exercises for other U.S. Military units, not just Special Forces.
This June, the Special Forces A team coming to this area will consist of no more than 12 men. They will work with a 10 man ' guerilla force' comprised of U.S. Military personnel in role as a guerrilla force. The leadership for this force has requested U.S. assistance in support of their cause. They want to work with the local populations to help develop their skill sets in dealing with county and civic leaders, civilians, civil engineers and doctors when they are called into a foreign country. The forces will enter Emery County just as if they were entering a hostile environment. They will parachute into southern Emery County and make their way across private land (BLM and USFS) into Carbon County. They will have weapons with them, but will carry only blank ammunition for the exercise. Col. Dunton said he has been working with Emery County Sheriff's Capt. Kyle Ekker. At no time will private property be accessed without per approved written consent by the property owners.
The Special Forces will be supported by additional personnel from their unit numbering about 15 personnel who will keep the scenario moving on schedule and supported. These soldiers in support will also play the role of the 'bad guys' on the targets.
Local volunteers or groups are needed to help in the scenarios as they role play people willing to support the guerillas. These include drivers with trucks and fifth-wheel trailers; property owners willing to host a meeting in a barn or basement etc. If you would like to be a driver, you will be reimbursed for fuel expenses. The forces will not bring any food or rations with them. They will depend on the locals for these items but, as with the fuel for the drivers, these costs will be reimbursed.
Col. Dunton said when they presented the idea in other counties they had some concerns as to how their citizens would react. Col. Dunton said the soldiers will not interfere with the locals in anyway. Any contact with locals will be prearranged. Most of the soldiers will not be in uniform, although they will have one uniformed person in each group to serve as an observer controller or referee. They will be stationed in a guerilla base and most of their activities should not be apparent to the public. A briefing will be given each day to law enforcement points of contact.
Targets will include the local radio towers and abandoned railroad infrastructure. The forces will also train with live ammunition for one afternoon but only while they are practicing at the North Springs shooting range. The remainder of the training will be done with blanks.
An open house will be held on April 2 at the Price Armory from 6-8 p.m. to discuss the scenario and the training event.
There will be no door to door contact with any of the local citizens as part of the exercise scenario. There will be no surveillance collection on U.S. Citizens. The only exception to this is what is defined in the scenario script with persons acting 'in role' and nothing will be stored after the exercise. The scenario will end on Department of the Defense ground near Green River. The training event will take place June 4-18. After the event the team will have a lunch with any interested public and the participants in the training. The Utah National Guard may be involved as opposition forces to the Special Forces unit. "We feel this is exciting training. We are looking for folks to help and participate. If you would like to help we encourage you to come to the open house." said Col. Dunton.
Commissioner Jeff Horrocks said he was glad the forces are going to train in Emery County. "It's a great area for training and we appreciate you coming to explain what's happening."
Col. Dunton explained that Utah is unique because it was founded with a religious background that can present some 'cultural norms' unfamiliar or unique so as to cause the soldiers to adjust their points of view in order to complete the mission; similar to what the forces might encounter in other countries.