The Windy City’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) told the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday it is providing support for “routine military training exercises,” including flying helicopters in the downtown area of the city at night.
“The training sites have been carefully selected to minimize the impact on the daily routine of residents,” the OEMC said in a statement released to the public.
According to a 2013 U.S. Census Bureau report, 2,695,598 people live in Chicago. Population density is 11,841.8 residents per square mile, making it one of the most populated urban areas in the United States.
The “realistic urban training” conducted by the U.S. Special Operations Command, based at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, includes the participation of soldiers from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment headquartered in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
According to the Tribune, the training is designed to prepare military personnel for overseas deployments.
In July, we reported on an Army exercise conducted in Port Angeles, Washington, that turned the small city into a simulated war zone and terrorized residents. Frightened citizens flooded the police with phone calls complaining about low flying Chinook helicopters.
“Because of the volume of the complaints that we heard, I want to let the Army base know that if it’s necessary to fly over populated areas, we want advance notice,” Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict told the Peninsula Daily News on July 12.
In January, we reported on the U.S. Army along with other agencies taking over the Carnegie Vanguard High School in Houston, Texas. Alarmed residents called police and complained about gunshots and helicopters.
Earlier that month, a training exercise “designed to ensure that military personnel are able to operate in urban areas and to focus on preparations for overseas deployment” rattled residents of Miami, Florida. The exercise included simulated machine gun fire over a downtown Miami freeway.
Military helicopters over Chicago, July 23, 2013: