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Robin Sage Being Held Across 25 North Carolina Counties, Including Randolph

Special Forces candidates assigned to the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School assault enemy role players as they take part in the final phase of field training known as Robin Sage in central North Carolina, Sept. 28, 2021. (K. Kassens/U.S. Army
Special Forces candidates assigned to the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School assault enemy role players as they take part in the final phase of field training known as Robin Sage in central North Carolina, Sept. 28, 2021. (K. Kassens/U.S. Army

ASHEBORO N.C. – U.S. Army Special Forces students will take part in the final test of their training this month in the Robin Sage training exercise across central North Carolina, including here in Randolph County.

Taking place this year from Jan. 22nd through Feb. 4th 2022, students from the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg along with other military’s units and civilians will all take part in the exercise known as Robin Sage.

The exercise takes place in the fictional nation of “Pineland,” where special forces students will pose as guerrilla / freedom fighters, also known as Pineland’s resistance movement.

“Robin Sage is the U.S. military’s premiere unconventional warfare exercise and the final test of over a year’s worth of training for aspiring Special Forces Soldiers. Candidates are placed in an environment of political instability characterized by armed conflict, forcing Soldiers to analyze and solve problems to meet the challenges of this “real-world” training,” the Army said in a release.

The Army says soldiers will use blank gunfire and flares in order to maintain a level of realism. The Army has been in contact with local public safety officials ahead of the training.

Parts of Robin Sage will be held in the following North Carolina counties:

Alamance, Anson, Bladen, Brunswick, Cabarrus, Chatham, Columbus, Cumberland, Davidson, Guilford, Harnett, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, New Hanover, Randolph, Richmond, Robeson, Rowan, Sampson, Scotland, Stanly, Union, and Wake counties.

During the training exercise in 2002, Deputy Randall Butler shot and killed 1st L.t Tallas Tomeny and wounded Staff Sgt. Stephen Phelps after the deputy saw their behavior as suspicious. Butler was unaware the training was occurring. Every year since then officials with the Army have worked with local law enforcement to setup safety procedures. “Controls are in place to ensure there is no risk to persons or property. Residents with concerns should contact local law enforcement officials, who will immediately contact exercise control officials,” Fort Bragg officials said in a press release.

According to the Army, 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 brown armband during these instances.
  • Training areas and vehicles used during exercises are clearly labeled.

Robin Sage has been conducted since 1974.

We appreciate the support and consideration the citizens of North Carolina extend to the Soldiers participating in the exercise and thank them for their understanding of any inconveniences the training may cause. Questions concerning the exercise should be referred to the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School Public Affairs Office at (910) 396-9394, or by e-mail at pao_swcs@socom.mil. In the event of an emergency, please contact your local law enforcement agency.

U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School Public Affairs Office