BARSTOW — It was a scene straight out of horror film.
Run down, eerie-looking homes along a dark road.
Pop, pop, pop.
An exercise by U.S. Army special operation forces was beginning inside the Daggett Airport. The pop sounds came from weapons loaded with paint pellets.
“That’s them actively going in,” SFC Ryan Sabin said.
It’s too dark to really see anything from the observation point, about a 75 yards out. But the voices ring out.
“Behind you, behind you.”
“Get down, get down.”
Sabin explained that about eight U.S. Army Green Berets helped the resisting forces storm the structure. It’s believed a value target and his girlfriend are inside. Sabin said the job of the Green Berets is to direct the resisting forces.
“They train them. This how you fight with a weapon. This is how you clear out a room,” Sabin said. “They are training them to fight for their country. That’s what green berets do. They help the guerrilla force. We will show them how to do it.”
The combined forces did get the target, but his bodyguards and girlfriend got away.
A vehicle sped away from the structure headed toward the observation point. Two men hopped out of the vehicle. They explained they are soldiers from Fort Irwin who played the bodyguards.
“We got her (girlfriend) out clean,” one of them said. But he was sporting a red nose. He took a hit from a paint ball.
“It’s straight chaos,” Sabin said. “But it’s awesome to see soldiers take that chaos and turn it into something. They walk away with a target and achieve their objective.”
The training exercise at the Daggett Airport is just one of many held in the Mojave Desert region this month. The exercises are part of joint forcible entry training. According to Sabin, it will showcase the “interoperability of the military services as well as the interdependence of the Army’s conventional forces and special operations in preparation for possible overseas contingency missions.”
“This is not Jade Helm 15. It has nothing to do with it,” Sabin said during a City Hall briefing on July 14. “Jade Helm 15 is an eight-week joint military and interagency unconventional exercise that started Wednesday throughout Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado.
“Our group was not involved in any of it. This is a joint chief of staff-led exercise,” Sabin said. “The whole purpose of it is to actually kind of recertify special operations. Special operations has the real neat task of going into urban areas. Making link ups. Helping guerrilla forces help take back their country.”
Mike Lamb can be reached at 760-475-8337 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter@mlambdispatch.
Photos courtesy of Private First Class Shannon Thomas.