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.

When I recently discussed Jade Helm with an active duty Green Beret, he groaned.  He found the entire matter completely uninteresting and thought they they could have conducted much better training at their home base, rather than fart around a half dozen states in what he felt was a poorly planned training exercise.  This is the ultimate irony of it all.  While the conspiracy theorists are practically breathless about the subject, those actually involved with Jade Helm find it to be just another mundane training exercise.

As expected, nothing much will come of Jade Helm or the conspiracy theory protestors but that won’t stop them from coming out of the wood work the next time around, telling us that the sky is falling.  Hysteria it seems, it good for business, at least for those in the business of freaking out.