Helicopters from the U.S. Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment shook Port Angeles, Wash., residents awake last week as they thundered above the city, flying low and shining bright lights on the ground during an early morning training exercise that “terrorized [the] city.”
“We have a Coast Guard base and know what our Coast Guard helicopters sound like,” Port Angeles Mayor Cherie Kidd told CBS Seattle. “It was horrendously loud and frightening. There were lights on some of the helicopters that just really upset us.”
The exercise — in which MH-60 Blackhawk and CH-47 Chinook helicopters flew over the city with their landing lights on at an altitude of 750 feet — prompted frightened residents to call emergency dispatchers to ask what was going on. But dispatchers had no answers because the Army had not notified anyone in advance of the exercise. The Clallam County sheriff’s office was not notified until later on Friday that the helicopters were training at the Coast Guard base at Ediz Hook, off the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Port Angeles resident Eric Phillips said the helicopters were spotlighting the town. “I’ve never seen anything like this before,” he said.
Since January, military helicopters have flown “training” missions over Houston, Miami and Chicago. In each case, frightened citizens swamped emergency dispatchers with calls to learn if they were being attacked. Additionally, troops have been spotted training in and around these cities and others. And several similar helicopter exercises were held over American cities last year.
Federal law prohibits the U.S. military from conducting domestic law enforcement. So why is the military practicing assaults on U.S. cities? And why aren’t they warning residents, or at least the local governments, beforehand so they won’t be frightened out of their wits?