The Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment has been practicing surprise war drills over St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Airborne Black Hawk Helicopters arrived without warning to citizens Monday night rattling apartment buildings across Minnesota.
Over 200 calls where made to 911 over the disturbances.
The Minneapolis Police Department is the lead agency coordinating with the military for the drill -which lasted for at least 4 hours according to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, and will continue through Thursday.
Local officials where unaware of the training as well.
“St. Paul City Council member Chris Tolbert, who represents Highland Park, was taken by surprise when the training exercise began.
“I think it’s outrageous,” he said. “We’re going to have Black Hawks flying at a low level over a densely populated urban area without any notice at all? I had helicopters shaking my house at 11:57 last night. They were right over the trees.”, the Pioneer Press reported.
The community is not happy with the military drills either. Local resident Daniel Feidt is one of them.
“I think that the scale of domestic military exercises is not a good idea and a waste of tax payer money. I think it is inappropriate for special forces to be operating in American cities.”, said Feidt.
When local news anchor asked why they are training in the twin cities a WCCO broadcaster suggested that ” this is a routine city drill.”, and that the military prefers to put pilots in unfamiliar places it forces them to adapt quickly as if they where on the real thing in a place they have never been. ”
Tonya Tennessen, spokeswoman for St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, said the mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis agreed months ago to host the exercises. She expressed this is what to expect in a post 9/11 world.
“Going forward, the St. Paul Police Department and the city of St. Paul will take the lead in communications, just as we did in 2012,” said Tennessen, who otherwise defended the training.
“In a post-9/11 world, this is how homeland security happens. … These exercises are taking place in cities all over the country.”
Hill, the Army’s spokesman, said “In the past, it became a spectator sport, and it became more trouble keeping the population at bay, because they wanted to get closer and closer. It’s a safety concern.” .