Emerald Warrior, a private training contractor employed by the United States Special Operations Command or SOCOM, has asked Gadsden County’s Board of County Commissioners to allow training operations in the region. The BOCC unanimously agreed to allow the training.
“It’s a drill,” said Commissioner Sherrie Taylor. “It’s a mock kind of thing.”
An Emerald Warrior representative told commissioners the training operation will be from April 28 to May 8 and span several counties,
including Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Leon, Liberty and Franklin. Between 100 and 200 members of several military branches will participate in the exercises.
The Emerald Warrior representative said operators will move across this multi-county area in real-time, negotiating any number of unplanned and unfamiliar situations — a less controlled experience than government facilities offer. During these exercises, residents may hear the sound of helicopters flying overhead or operators firing blank rounds.
Training will be in both urban and rural areas. Planning is underway so times, dates and locations of the exercises are not yet set.
“I’m all for it,” said Taylor, “I just want to make sure that the community is aware so nobody is caught off guard.”
Emerald Warrior representative will notify residents in areas near certain target sites by going door-to-door on relatively short notice. This helps keep possible spectators and media to a minimum. The representative also explained private land would only be used with owner consent and compensation.