February 1, 2013
Traces of Reality: This specific military drill took place on Wednesday, January 30, 2013. Houston and Miami were witness to similar conditioning exercises earlier this week. But they’re a daily occurrence throughout the landscape of today’s America. -DB
The parking garage at the Galveston County courthouse is already blocked off, in preparation for military training exercises Wednesday, which could include helicopters landing on the roof.
The garage occupies four floors of a seven-story building at 715 19th St., which also houses an empty jail.
The training will involve about 80 soldiers from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command in coordination with local law enforcement, said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Noggle, an Army spokesman based at Fort Bragg, N.C.
No civilians will be involved, he said.
“We were invited by the city of Galveston to conduct joint training exercises to enhance the effectiveness of both services in order to better protect the residents of Galveston,” Noggle said by email.
“The purpose of the realistic urban training is to give our Special Operators an opportunity to hone their skills in a controlled, but unfamiliar, realistic urban environment that cannot be replicated with the bare-boned facades found on military installation ranges,” he wrote.
Galveston County Judge Mark Henry said he thought the exercise could involve landing helicopters on top of the seven-story garage and jail facility.
An old antenna, which would have impeded landing on the building’s roof, was removed last week, Henry said.
“It was scheduled for demolition anyway,” the judge said. “We just accelerated the time frame on that. It’s out of their way so they can land there if they want to.”
Although the former county jail is empty, it’s well maintained in case it might be needed for inmate overflow, Henry said.
Noggle declined to specify what the training includes, but he stated that helicopters would be used if weather permits.
Any firing of weapons will involve “simulated ammunition,” Noggle said.
If the training is anything like the maneuvers that happened Monday in southeast Houston near the former Carnegie Vanguard High School and last week in Miami, it will catch the public’s attention.