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Military training exercises cause confusion and fear among San Antonio residents

The training exercises are happening at night, and include low-flying helicopters, simulated gunfire, and controlled explosions. Here's what the city had to say.

SAN ANTONIO — Happening this week is controlled chaos in the city. The Army is conducting training exercises in San Antonio neighborhoods. The ruckus has left people confused and even fearful.

The City of San Antonio released new detailed information about the operation, Tuesday.  This training will occur between 6 p.m. and 3 a.m. It started August 8 and will last until August 12. The exercise includes: low-flying helicopters, simulated gunfire, and controlled explosions. It will happen at multiple spots throughout San Antonio, but the city says specific locations cannot be given.

Take a look at video of the training from early Thursday morning:

The Army says the training is to enhance soldiers' skills. It consist of air and ground operations and close-quarter battle training.

James Torres was watching a movie Monday night when he heard some loud noises.

"The house started shaking," he said.

Torres and his girlfriend ran outside to see what the commotion was all about. Their NEST video captured them. He said at one point, they heard two loud booms, and they ran back inside.

"I told her to get in the closet," he said. "I got by go bag. I looked up on Twitter to see if I can find what was going on. Sure enough, all my worries were alleviated."

Torres didn't know this training was happening. He wasn't alone. Sherill Metal lives on the east-side.

"This was my community, and nobody was talking about it," she said.

She said she was only alerted about the training through a post on Nextdoor. She started to worry.

"This got me thinking of all the other veterans here downtown," she said. And on the east-side that are homeless. It is bad enough they are on the street. But, now they have to wake up in the middle of the night to gunfire, and possible small explosions and helicopters."

About 100 personnel from the Army Special Operations Command are taking part in the training. The Army said it is at night to simulate real-world situations.

"We get more warnings for 4th of July noise than we did for this," Metal said.

Metal feels residents should have received notice way in advance.  Torres said his parents served in the Army.  He understands the importance.

"Once I understood it was nothing to be worried about by all means," he said. "It does get a little old since it is going until two or three in the morning."

A spokesperson with District Two City Councilman Jalen McKee-Rodriguez's Office said: "We wish we would have been given advance notice so we could conduct community outreach sooner. We have seen a few questions/concerns raised on Nextdoor."

The City of San Antonio answered some frequently asked questions.

Why is this training being conducted in San Antonio?

San Antonio is Military City USA and has a long history and strong relationship with the military. Training off of a military base offers more realism and greater training value.

Exactly where will the training take place?

This training will take place at multiple locations throughout San Antonio. For the safety of the community and to ensure military participants can concentrate on their tasks with no distractions, the exact locations will not be disclosed. However, residents and businesses near the training locations will be contacted by SAPD.

What time will the training occur?

This training will occur between 6 p.m. and 3 a.m.

Why is the training at night?

U.S. Army service members train in environments that simulate what they could experience in real-world situations, which is why this training is being conducted at night. Safety precautions and planning considerations are in place to minimize the impact on the community.

How many people are involved in this training, and what units are involved?

Approximately 100 personnel from U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

Have the community and businesses been notified of this training?

The community and businesses in the areas where the training will be conducted have been and will continue to be notified.

  • SAPD officers and military officials went door-to-door Saturday, August 6, to notify residents and leave flyers, which have also been posted on NextDoor.
  • SAPD issued a press release and posted information on social media.
  • SAPD will send text alerts and conduct reverse 911 calls to the affected areas beginning Monday, August 8.
  • Downtown businesses will be notified by email Monday, August 8.
  • 911 dispatchers and 311 call takers are equipped to answer questions.

Is this training in response to or in preparation for a particular event?

This is routine training. U.S. Army service members train in different environments to provide new experiences.

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