Fort Walton Beach, Fla. - Residents along Fort Walton Beach's coast, near Hurlburt Field, likely noticed more activity than usual this evening. The Air Force Special Operations command is hosting the 10th annual Emerald Warrior Exercise.
The AFSOC conducted a land to sea training excursion intended to simulate what a soldier may face out on a mission. One of the exercises that took place Thursday evening, gave the Navy and Army a chance to put their training to the test. They used a helicopter to hoist a boat into the air and dropped it into the bay then loaded the boat with U.S. Army personnel for the soldiers to recover on shore.
"We have, actually we use several different training ranges all throughout the Southeastern United States and these allow us to duplicate the different types of terrain that they will actually, that the war fighters will actually be fighting in down range," explained the Emerald Warrior Program Manager, Lieutenant Colonel Eric Sullivan.
For the past ten years, their main goal during these exercises is to give members of the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army an opportunity to train and prepare for the life or death situations they may face while at war.
"In this environment, we want to find and identify their strengths and weaknesses. In particular, the weaknesses to fix them in this controlled environment," explained Lieutenant Colonel Sullivan.
This was just one of the many training tasks that they will conduct during the exercise. Officials say, they have more than 1,500 participants this year
"This inner op ability is the key to success in that we want them to be able to function and execute missions efficiently, effectively and safely," shared Lieutenant Colonel Sullivan.
In the past, these missions have been later in the year. In order to have more night hours, they decided to start during day light savings this year. The AFSCO will continue to execute these missions until the March 11th.
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