How the Army freaked out civilians during the San Bernardino shooting

JACKSONVILLE, North Carolina — On Dec. 2, as law enforcement officials began exchanging gunfire with San Bernardino, Calif., shooters Syed R. Farook and Tashfeen Malik, U.S. Army officials in Fort Bragg, N.C., conducted a training exercise that wound up scaring the local community, already on edge following news of the West coast attack on their televisions and social media.

Three unidentified U.S. Army soldiers wearing plain clothes showed up at White Oak Elementary School and Bogue Sound Elementary School asking school officials at both locations if the schools were crisis evacuation centers. When school administrators became suspicious of the men because of the questions being asked, the men presented “military style ID cards” and said they were representatives from U.S. Army base Fort Bragg, in Fayetteville, North Carolina, according to a press release from Carteret County Sheriffs Office.

In fact, the Army was conducting a “training exercise” under the “Global Reaction Force Operation” or what is commonly known as GRF, without informing local law enforcement and the general public of the exercise, according to The Daily News in Jacksonville, N.C.

The GRF is a joint special operation task force made up of roughly 5,000 soldiers spread out between two infantry battalions, a reconnaissance squadron, field artillery and special operation forces and supporting elements, such as transportation vehicles and engineers. The GRF remains in a constant high state of readiness to deploy within an 18-hour window to any crisis around the world; the U.S. Marine Corps has a similar program called ACM or Air Contingency Marine Air Ground Task Force, whose duties, like the Army, continuously rotate from unit to unit throughout the entire force.

Department of Defense installations reportedly did not tell local law enforcement there would be training exercises or security assessments underway in Carteret County, according to The Daily News. And the three men apparently went beyond the scope of their exercise...


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