[Last updated on June 23, 2015, at 11:12 a.m.]
Ocala, Florida — On Monday, Community Technical & Adult Education (CTAE) spokeswoman Janie Gunnell said that Marion County citizens should not worry about the 600 to 700 military personal that have recently occupied Ocala.
The military has taken over the Westport High School parking lot and it is currently filled with military vehicles.
According to reports, the military is in Ocala for “Operation Guardian,” and it will culminate on June 25, 2015.
The military said the training exercise is necessary to hone their skills in the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster.
“[CTAE] can provide the best training area and the best training instructors anywhere in the country,” Lt. Col. Tim Snider said. “This exercise has been four years in planning.”
Many citizens have made it clear via e-mail and social media that they are not comfortable with the military training in Ocala on such a large scale. Some readers have even asked if the training exercises had anything to do with Jade Helm 15.
The military says there is nothing to fear because it is just a training exercise.
Ocala Post asked officials if this operation was in connection to Jade Helm 15, but a response was not received by the time this article was published.
In regards to the training exercise having any connection to Jade Helm 15, Gunnell stated, “No, not that I am aware of.”
“[The training exercises] are 100 percent search and rescue and other life saving training,” Gunnell said. “It is an honor to have the different military units training in our town and at CTAE’s facilities.”
According to Gunnell, the training will be conducted at the CTAE “All Hazards Training Center,” located at Southwest 67th Avenue Road, Ocala.
Seven different military units will be training in search and rescue and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear and Explosives (CBRNE).