September 27, 2022

Residents of San Antonio, Texas, were shaken from their sleep on Tuesday by loud explosions and low-flying helicopters as the U.S. military held training exercises in America’s seventh-largest city through Friday.

The training sessions will take place for four days this week from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. and will include air and ground mobility operations and close quarters combat training in a dark and realistic environment, the San Antonio Police Department shared on Facebook.

“Meetings and planning for this training event began months ago,” SAPD Police Chief William McManus said in a press release.

“Because San Antonio is known as Military City, USA, we have a long history and strong relationship with the US military, and we are honored to be able to support the US military in delivering this crucial training in our city.” he added.

Safety measures were put in place to protect participants and residents, along with planning considerations to minimize the impact on the community and private property.

The San Antonio Police Department said it will also be on the scene to ensure the safety of both citizens and participants.

Low-flying helicopters were seen all over San Antonio Monday night as America’s seventh-largest city hosts military operations every night from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Josh Tovar, 19, told the San Antonio Express-News that he felt his couch shake while playing the popular war game Call of Duty, prompting him to step outside, only to see two helicopters fly in not far from his house. Hays Street

However, images shared on Twitter by local residents show loud noises from low-flying helicopters, simulated gunfire and include explosions at night that have upset several neighborhoods of the city.

Josh Tovar, 19, told the San Antonio Express-News that he felt his couch shake while playing the popular war game Call of Duty, prompting him to go outside, only to notice two helicopters flying not far from his home. flew into Hays Street .

The sound of two explosions near the Alamodome before six shots were fired came shortly after around 9:45 p.m.

The Express-News also reported four UH-60 Blackhawks circulating around the area, as well as four MH-6M Little Bird helicopters, both of which are part of the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.

As news spread in “Alamo City” that the US military is in the city, city officials informed residents on Sunday, though some residents would have preferred to have been warned earlier.

“Of course I would have liked to hear about it sooner,” San Antonio District 1 councilor Mario Bravo told Express-News.

Residents were awakened by explosions and low-flying military helicopters during the first night of training exercises on Monday

Some residents panicked when they saw helicopters flying just above the ground, with one person telling neighbors: ‘Beware, the exercise is not military. Close your doors. And be vigilant’

He added that he only learned about the training on Sunday and through the local news.

“To me it makes perfect sense that we would have warned much earlier,” Bravo continued.

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Nextdoor, an app designed to let neighbors communicate, apparently exploded when people described their first-hand experiences of noticing military personnel and planes in the area.

On Facebook, Michelle Morgan asked local residents why military helicopters were circulating in Dignowity Hill, in San Antonio’s East Side neighborhood, the Express-News reported.

On TikTok, a resident of the center shared a video stating that three helicopters had flown over her house three times, rattling the windows.

Another resident reported the military to the police, while one person warned his neighbors: ‘Beware: the exercise is not military. Close your doors. And be vigilant.’

However, the San Antonio Police Department said flyers were also being sent and distributed in all neighborhoods of the city, although some residents complained that they did not have contact information for questions.

City authorities and law enforcement agencies were warned in advance about the training.

“I would have liked to have known more about it so I could prepare,” Bravo told Express-News.

Two helicopters were spotted in the night sky Monday evening for their red and white lights

District 2 Councilor Jalen McKee-Rodriguez, who represents residents living in the city’s East Side neighborhoods near the Alamodome, said his office had not received any complaints about the military exercise, though he appreciated it. if he had been warned more in advance.

“I wish we had been given more advance notice so we could coordinate and reach the community sooner,” he told Express-News.

On Tuesday afternoon, before the second military operation, city officials left voicemails on residents’ phones warning them of potentially louder military activity in the area during the night.

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People who sign up for alerts from the San Antonio Police Department and the AlertSA program’s notification systems also received reports of the operation.

People who signed up to receive alerts and notifications from the San Antonio Police Department and the AlertSA program have received updates about the military’s presence.

Assistant city manager Jeff Coyle told Mayor Ron Nirenberg and city council members via email that the city’s 311 call center had not received any complaints about the training Tuesday afternoon.

SAPD coordinators also had not received 911 calls from residents, nor had the department’s non-emergency line.