- Conflict & Crisis
July 12, 2012
In keeping with the alarming increase in the number of “drills” and “exercises” being conducted all across the country which simulate terrorism, civil unrest, and natural disasters – all situations which involve an overwhelming law enforcement or military response – the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina area is now conducting WMD “training exercises” in populated areas complete with all the accessories.
Described as an “exercise” designed to “help police, fire and emergency officials be better prepared for such a disaster,” the South Carolina Weapons of Mass Destruction Specialized Response Team exercise, which is called Operation Four Aces, began on Monday, July 9 and will continue until Friday, July 13.
According to Leslie Yancey, spokeswoman for the Horry County Fire Rescue, “officials” from all over South Carolina will take part in the exercise in order to “test the interoperability of specialized response teams in the event of an actual terrorist event in our state.”
The specialized response teams Yancey is referring to are agencies like SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics), EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal), USAR (Urban Search and Rescue), and HAZMAT (Hazardous Materials). Other departments may be taking part in the exercise as well but they were not announced in the initial reports coming from the Myrtle Beach area news sites.
The organizers of the event are calling on volunteers to participate and play the roles of doctors, nurses, students, faculty, and “casualties,” during the course of the exercise. The organizers have put out a special call to members of churches and civic groups.
All in all, Operation Four Aces will take place near the South Strand Medical Center, the Conway shooting, range or the Horry County Public Works Department.
Operation Four Aces is funded by a grant from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) which then distributed the money to Horry County Emergency Management. The original grant is part of the DHS WMD Exercise Grant Program.
Even though the exercise will largely be taking place in plain view and with the help of citizen volunteers, Horry County Fire Rescue’s Chief of Training Matt Smith, who emphatically supports the program, states that he cannot reveal any further details about the event.
Interestingly enough, while the military is not openly participating in this exercise, the consortium of participants have put out a call for “civilians” to act as volunteers – apparently under the mistaken impression that because they have assumed a position of perceived power and authority, they are no longer civilians themselves.
Yet, although the military is not participating in this exercise outright (Operation Four Aces is designed to train State agencies, not Federal), the military seems to be overseeing the exercise in a more indirect sense.
This is because the training will be conducted by Red Tail Tactical Technology Inc., a private “tactical instruction” firm founded and operated by Don Hollenbaugh. The firm is based out of two locations, one being Meridian, Idaho and the other Fayetteville, North Carolina, right outside of Ft. Bragg.