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It will look and sound like a war in 19 NC counties. It’s supposed to

In this 2002 file photo, two U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers run across a road in rural Randolph County in the Uwharrie National Forest at dusk as they participate in the Robin Sage training exercise. The exercise for Special Forces applicants is the largest of its kind in the world involving over 7,000 square miles of central North Carolina. These men were part of a group observing “guerrilla” fighters tactics as they ambushed an opposing force vehicle. This summer’s exercise will occur in 19 counties Aug. 1-17.
In this 2002 file photo, two U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers run across a road in rural Randolph County in the Uwharrie National Forest at dusk as they participate in the Robin Sage training exercise. The exercise for Special Forces applicants is the largest of its kind in the world involving over 7,000 square miles of central North Carolina. These men were part of a group observing “guerrilla” fighters tactics as they ambushed an opposing force vehicle. This summer’s exercise will occur in 19 counties Aug. 1-17. (Raleigh) News & Observer

No need to panic if you hear what you think is gunfire, see flares and encounter soldiers in battle in any of 19 NC counties beginning on Wednesday.

It’s all part of the final test for 200 students to qualify for their first assignments in the Army’s Special Forces, according to a news release from the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg.

Military members from units across Fort Bragg will act as “realistic opposing forces and guerrilla freedom fighters” during the two-week “Robin Sage” exercise, according to the announcement. Robin Sage “is the U.S. military’s premiere unconventional warfare exercise,” the news release said.

“These troops play a critical role in the training exercise,” as do civilian support personnel and the general public, the school said in its release.

About 500 military members and civilian support personnel and 150 members of the public are expected to participate.

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In this 2002 file photo, Philip Young, left, the chief of the guerrilla camp, negotiates with U.S. Army Capt. Arthur Garfer, right, and a Special Forces training group at his camp in the Uwharrie Forest. The Robin Sage training exercise has taken place in the Tar Heel state for over 40 years and involves not only Army Special Forces but civilians and hundreds of volunteers. This summer’s exercise will occur in 19 counties Aug. 1-17. (Raleigh) News & Observer

“Residents may hear blank gunfire and see occasional flares,” the warfare center and school said in its news release. “Controls are in place to ensure there is no risk to persons or property.“

The Special Warfare Center and School said it has coordinated all planned “movements and events” with officials in each county.

Residents with concerns, however, should contact local law enforcement, “who will immediately contact exercise control officials,” the news release said.

The training is scheduled to end on Aug. 17.

Participating counties are Alamance, Anson, Cabarrus, Chatham, Cumberland, Davidson, Davie, Guilford, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, Randolph, Richmond, Robeson, Rowan, Scotland, Stanly and Union.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067; @jmarusak
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