Today Jade Helm 15, the U.S. military exercise that will take place across Arizona, Florida, Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Utah, and Mississippi will kick off.  Involving about 500 Special Operations personnel, the exercise has drawn criticism from conspiracy mongers.  Worse yet, is those conspiracy mongers now form a large enough of a constituency that mainstream politicians are appeasing them in Texas, with silly rhetoric if nothing else.  Having participated in such exercises in the past, and having heard the panicked cries of the conspiracy theorists since the 1990’s, you can chalk me up as being less than worried about Jade Helm.

At a U.S. military base, a single file line of Rangers queued up in front of a scale.  We were all armed to the teeth with M4 rifles, Mk48 machine guns, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.  I was waiting my turn to get weighed in.  I was a part of weapons squad, the Rangers in my platoon who carried the light machine guns during dismounted operations and fired the larger .50 caliber M2 machine guns during mounted operations.  Naturally, we were going to come in heavier than the rifle squads.  We all had to be weighed because the 160th pilots flying the MH-47 helicopters to our objective had to calculate how much weight they could fly versus fuel expenditure.  If we came in overweight, we would have to start cutting equipment or personnel.

A map inside our ad hoc Operations Center showed the pilot’s flight plan.  We were taking off from our base and flying across a international border to hit a target deep inside enemy controlled terrain.

But we were not in Afghanistan.  The international border was actually a domestic border between Arizona and New Mexico.  This was a training mission as part of a Special Operations train up prior to deploying to Afghanistan.  It had absolutely nothing to do with martial law, gun confiscation, or the New World Order.  None of us even cared about or discussed such things, we were too focused on our actual job, killing terrorists overseas.