Special Operations troops assaulted downtown Tampa … all to thunderous applause

Washington Post – by Thomas Gibbons-Neff

TAMPA — On Wednesday, Special Operations troops from more than a dozen countries jumped out of helicopters, rappelled from buildings and expended hundreds of rounds of ammunition as they attempted to rescue the mayor of this Florida city.

The operation was, of course, an exercise, but it was also a public spectacle for a force that has tried desperately to remain in the shadows despite now being at the forefront of America’s wars.  

Aside from U.S. Special Operations forces, including Navy SEALs, Marine Raiders and Army Green Berets, countries such as Ireland and Jordan also participated in the exercise. Many of the participants covered their faces, and only a select few were allowed to speak to the media afterward.

“A lot of what we do is a bit secretive, we don’t really advertise much of what we do and there is a reason for it,” U.S. Special Forces Lt. Col. Chris Robeshaw told reporters following the event. “I think … this is maybe a stark reminder that there are young men and women out there putting themselves at risk.”

The exercise is put on each year as a part of the Special Forces Industry Conference, a 12,000-strong, three-day meeting of Special Operations personnel and companies showcasing the latest technologies available to both U.S. troops and their international allies.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is captured by pirates and held ashore near the convention center here. Soon after, as thousands of spectators watched from nearby rooftops, party boats and bar patios, Black Hawk helicopters supported by smaller gunships and fast-moving riverine craft descended on the area.

In the background an announcer narrated the operation. “This type of mission would be undertaken during the cover of darkness,” the voice says with a tone that would be fitting for the master of ceremonies for a high school graduation. “The sniper overwatch team is equipped with high-powered rifles that can hit a target from more than a mile away.”

Role players, dressed in black and carrying Kalashnikovs, feigned gunshot wounds as the coalition of commandos swooped in. Luckily, no one had to throw a red smoke grenade to mark the landing zone for a MEDEVAC helicopter or improvise with black Hefty trash bags instead of using body bags; in fact, there were no U.S. or international casualties at all.

For the faux mission’s finale, a rescued Buckhorn was ferried back to shore, firing one of the riverine craft’s blank-shooting .50-caliber machine guns as if he were Rambo incarnate, a smile plastered on his face while being flanked by some of the United States’ most elite war fighters.

With the last blank round of ammunition expended and the clean-up crew quietly picking up shards of a fake rocket-propelled grenade explosion that went off near the deck of a waterfront bar, some of the Special Operations troops came ashore, disembarking from their rigid hull inflatable patrol craft to a throng of people eager to take pictures with them.

According to Special Operations Command officials, the entire 30-minute operation took four days to plan, rehearse and execute. The preparation, for what many in the U.S. military would call a “dog and pony show,” likely took time and resources from a community that is currently deploying at a rate not seen during the last 15 years of war.

“I would say there appears to be a heavy reliance on Special Operations forces, not just us but all of our international allies,” Robeshaw said of current operations around the globe. “I think the deployments really push people to their limits … and I’m always amazed at the perseverance that we all share.”


6 thoughts on “Special Operations troops assaulted downtown Tampa … all to thunderous applause

  1. Let me tell you a true story.

    Some years back, my son, new on the job of protecting a nuclear power plant, was part of the “routine drill”. Half tried to break into the command center while the other half tried to protect it.

    Not knowing any better, new to the job, my son successfully reached the command center…upon seeing my son “in” the command center, the commander picked up the phone and advised….whomever… “I have one of yours guys here in the command center.”

    What do you suppose happened?

    Well, being new, my son didn’t know he was “not suppose to win”.
    So he was reprimanded for being successful.

    You see…. IT’S a GAME. It’s JUST a GAME.

    They are not putting on a public display to show you how incompetent
    they may be.
    These displays should not be happening among CITIZENS like this, unless they are preparing YOU to get use to it.

    Ya’ll should read “how to catch wild pigs”.

    1. How to catch wild pigs

      Distributed by email – Author unknown

      There was a Chemistry professor in a large college that had some exchange students in the class. One day while the class was in the lab the Prof noticed one young man (exchange student) who kept rubbing his back and stretching as if his back hurt.

      The professor asked the young man what was the matter. The student told him he had a bullet lodged in his back. He had been shot while fighting communists in his native country who were trying to overthrow his country’s government and install a new communist government.

      In the midst of his story he looked at the professor and asked a strange question. He asked, ‘Do you know how to catch wild pigs?’
      The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punch line.

      The young man said this was no joke. “You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come everyday to eat the free corn. When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming. When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence.

      They get used to that and start to eat, again you continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in the last side. The pigs, who are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate to eat, you slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd.

      Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity.

      The young man then told the professor that is exactly what he sees happening to America. The government keeps pushing us toward Communism/Socialism and keeps spreading the free corn out in the form of programs such supplemental income, tax credit for unearned income, tobacco subsidies, dairy subsidies, payments not to plant crops (CRP), welfare, medicine drugs, etc. while we continually lose our freedoms just a little at a time.

      One should always remember ‘There is no such thing as a free lunch!!’ also ‘You can never hire someone to provide a service for you cheaper then you can do it yourself.’

      If you see that all of this wonderful government ‘help’ is the problem confronting the future of democracy in America, you might want to send this on to your friends. If you think the free ride is essential to your way of life you will probably delete this email, but God help you when the gate slams shut.

  2. “I think … this is maybe a stark reminder that there are young men and women out there putting themselves at risk.”

    I hope it’s a stark reminder that there are young men and women putting all of US at risk.

    I’m sure this exercise was on every TV channel, because the idea is to scare the public into submission, or they would have held their “training mission” in any one of a number of facilities built for that purpose.

    It may look scary, because they’re NOT training for an entire town or neighborhood surrounding them, which scenario they have no possible defense for. It’s all theatre.


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