Between July 21 and Wednesday, about 100 Special Forces students will participate in the Robin Sage training exercise, held in 15 North Carolina counties as the final test of their Special Forces Qualification Course training.

The two-week exercise is run eight times a year, once for each class of Special Forces candidates.

The candidates are students at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, based out of Fort Bragg.

The exerciseís notional country of Pineland encompasses 15 counties in North Carolina including Alamance, Anson, Cabarrus, Chatham, Cumberland, Davidson, Guilford, Hoke, Montgomery, Moore, Randolph, Richmond, Rowan, Scotland, Stanly and Union counties.

Throughout the exercise, Special Forces candidates and Robin Sage role-players not only conduct training missions such as controlled assaults and key-leader engagements, but also live, eat and sleep in these civilian areas.

All Robin Sage movements and events have been coordinated with public safety officials throughout and within the towns and counties hosting the training. Residents may hear blank gunfire and see occasional flares. Controls are in place to ensure there is no risk to persons or property. Residents with concern should contact local law enforcement officials, who will immediately contact exercise control officials.

With the help of civilian authorities and local citizens, Robin Sage has been conducted since 1974.

For the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, safety is always the commandís top priority during all training events. The following measures have been implemented:

∑ Formal written notification to the chiefs of law enforcement agencies in the affected counties, with a follow-up visit from a unit representative.

∑All civilian and non-student military participants are briefed on procedures to follow if there is contact with law enforcement officials.

∑Students will only wear civilian clothes if the situation warrants, as determined by the instructors, and will wear a distinctive armband during these instances. Personnel role-playing as Pineland law enforcement officers wear distinctive hats and armbands, as well.

Training areas and vehicles used during exercises are clearly labeled.

About 200 military servicemembers from units across Fort Bragg will also support the exercise. These military members act as realistic opposing forces and guerrilla freedom fighters, also known as Pinelandís resistance movement.

Robin Sage is the U.S. militaryís premiere unconventional warfare exercise and the final test of over a yearís worth of training for aspiring Special Forces Soldiers.

Questions concerning the exercise should be referred to the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School Public Affairs Office at 396-9394, or by e-mail at pao_swcs@soc.mil.

In the event of an emergency, please contact your local law enforcement agency.