July 13, 2013
A CH-47 Chinook helicopter during a night operation. Photo: U.S. Army
The Army has apologized for turning Port Angeles, Washington, into a simulated war zone and terrorizing residents on Thursday.
Frightened residents called police in the small city and complained about low flying Chinook helicopters. According to Peninsula Daily News, noise and lights panicked horses and other livestock.
Uninformed residents took to Facebook and Twitter and posted messages speculating the helicopters were involved in a drug raid or other police activity.
“No one had any warning about the helicopters, no one said anything afterwards, and today city officials had to spend hours just trying to find out what had happened — who had invaded Port Angeles,” said Port Angeles Mayor Cherie Kidd.
“They terrorized my city.”
“Our watch commander last night reported that we received ‘dozens of calls’ complaining about low-flying helicopters over the city,” Deputy Police Chief Brian Smith said.
Calls by police to military bases in the area were not returned until Friday afternoon.
“I want to hold people accountable for this so it doesn’t happen again,” said Army Col. H. Charles Hodges Jr., garrison commander of Joint Base Fort Lewis-McChord near Tacoma.
“I apologize, this is totally unacceptable.”
Army Maj. Michael Burns said the unannounced operation was conducted by units of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Fort Lewis-McChord and also included MH-60 Blackhawk attack helicopters.
A Port Angeles resident posted videos of the helicopters on Youtube.
Burns admitted police in the area were not notified and declined to answer questions about operation specifics. “With helicopters, we cover such a wide area, it’s tough to notify every agency,” Burns said.
“Because of the volume of the complaints that we heard, I want to let the Army base know that if it’s necessary to fly over populated areas, we want advance notice,” Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict told the Peninsula Daily News.
Over the last few months, Infowars.com has reported on numerous instances of the military conducting unannounced military exercises in civilian areas.