Thursday, January 31, 2013

Wings Over Houston

Well rotary wings that is.

After watching the news story on the helicopters flying around Houston (if the link is not working, go to, I wanted to make a few observations.

From The Videos

1. This was not just helicopters flying around Houston. This was a drill/exercise on assaulting a building (here it was a school) that is being held by a force of bad guys.

2. In the linked video, you can see the paint markers that the Opposing Forces used in the exercise.  I counted 15; there may be more, but the resolution isn't great.  That leads me to think that this was not a school shooting drill--too many shooters.  Also, an operation like this in a real-world event would require at least an 8-12 hour lead time to move the men and equipment, get vehicles setup, and so on. Recent active shooter incidents such as Virgina Tech, Aurora, and Sandy Hook all took a maximum of 15 minutes from the beginning of the criminal event until it was ended.  There would be no reason to even contact the military if an active shooter event had taken place. 

3. The air assault was conducted by a US Army Helicopter unit, the 160th SOAR. They are the only ones with black MH/AH-6M Little Bird helicopters. Other Army helicopters are green. I have seen the green and black helicopters sitting next to each other on an airfield.
4. Some have suggested that the army unit on the ground is DELTA, but it is most likely SF or  Ranger, not DELTA. First, they were in uniform, not plain clothes or black kit. Second, the news showed a brief clip of two soldiers taking up a tight 360-security position.  Delta is in and out--not a lot of hanging out and securing the objective. Again, that is based on my experience supporting the task force types.

5. This was most likely a joint exercise, but only to the extent that the Army had to communicate their operation to the local athorities and to get permission.  This was not a culminating event at the end of a class conducted by the military for local law enforcement on how to attack a building. If it were a class, you would have seen the cops flying in the helicopters and wearing their tactical gear. You would have seen more integration of the military with law enforcement.  In this instance, there were no cops anywhere--not city, county or state.  The HPD helicopter was nowhere to be seen. To me this points to an independent military operation.

6. These Guys Mean Business
The vieo of the raw aerial footage clearly shows a Little Bird helicopter armed with rocket pods. They weren't just there for observation.  They have dedicated observation birds. These dudes (the Army) had a scenario set up where they were going into a hostile area where they may have to strike a fortified structure either on or adjacent to the objective.  Otherwise why bring a gunship?

So, What Do We Know?

United States Army shock troops are openly training and operating with City of Houston police (not just the SWAT guys), on performing military--NOT “military like”--raids on buildings in Houston.

So Why Houston?

The Army did not need to use  the school, they have fake cities to conduct this kind of training, Fort Benning has a much better facility for practicing urban operations, let alone Fort Hood, Fort Bragg or any other post.

But Why?

I don't know and I doubt we ever will.
Tinfoil hat warning!!!
This could be seen in the same light as, for example, the US sending ships to the Korean peninsula
It is a warning
If this is a warning, it says that the President and the chain of command are not afraid to send a highly trained assault force into the heart of a red defiant state (or State) whose citizens have stated that they don’t like a big powerful government (and don't view secession as a dirty word), whose government is passing laws to protect its citizens' right to bear arms, and whose attitude stands as an example to the rest of the country, and take out a "terrorist" stronghold.

Wait that is CRAZY right?

Let’s Look at One More Observation.

This exercise was conducted in broad daylight!

I would bet my CIB that if this had been a real mission, it would have gone off at night!
Here are the facts:
1. They were attacking a facility, which means the enemy was in a fixed location and the raid likey could have occurred at any time the assaulters chose.
2. They are fully prepared to operate at nigh. All of the soldiers I saw were wearing night vision. In fact, the two soldiers pulling security in the field, who I mentioned near the beginning of my post, were wearing the new panoramic night vision goggles (NVG's) and  the helicopters are all equipped to operate at night.
3. It is safer and more tactically sound to conduct raids in the short hours of the morning. It’s when there is little to no activity on the ground, meaning less non-combatants to deal with. It’s when people are sleeping, making it less likely that the defenders will be at 100% security. It’s when people on guard are getting sleepy and sloppy.

These soldiers all train extensively at night. Yet here they are in broad daylight!
So, Why is this weird?
Trditionally when the army conducts training missions, they keep their involvement out of the public eye. This operation was in the clear.

My Final Thoughts

I think in the end, the Houston cops got to see some cool equipment and some high speed operators. Most people (99.9998%), observers and participants alike, think that this was just another training mission, just in another city.
I do, however, believe there are likely some people somewhere in the chain of command, maybe as few as dozens, that see this as a warning to the "domestic terrorists".
They may also see it as a reassurance to democrat mayors that may see their sovereignty threatened.
They may also consider it social engineering to the average citizen to teach them that if you see a military force you should not be worried.  They are not coming for you, so don’t get involved . . . nothing to see here.

Some things I never thought possible are quickly becoming actual observed history.

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