RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — For the first time in recent years, Robin Sage, the elite warfare exercise run out of Fort Liberty for would-be Green Berets includes part of Tennessee.
“Robin Sage,” the name of the test for candidates of U.S. Special Forces, is also underway in 26 North Carolina counties until Sept. 28, according to officials at Fort Liberty, formerly Fort Bragg.
The war games are the litmus test for soldiers striving to earn the Green Beret for more than 40 years. Those who run the simulated warfare typically alert residents about the event, as civilians could see flares or hear blank gunfire during the training.
The final test in Carter County in Tennessee “has minimal impact on the local population,” officials said Friday.
The more than 6,700 Army Green Berets are highly trained commandos who usually work in 12-person teams that are often used for specialized combat and counterterrorism operations and to train other nations’ forces in battle skills.
During the Robin Sage training, students will be fighting in a fictional nation called “Pineland” which in the past has been an “environment of political instability characterized by armed conflict, forcing soldiers to analyze and solve problems.”
This year, Carter County in Tennessee is part of the test. Officials with the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School said there will be just one night in Tennessee as part of Robin Sage this year.
“Carter County was selected as a premiere location because the Appalachian Mountains provide mountainous terrain that simulate conditions Special Forces soldiers will likely encounter in future real-world missions,” Elvia Kelly, spokeswoman for the warfare center said in a statement to CBS 17.
Throughout the exercise, Special Forces candidates and Robin Sage role-players not only conduct warfare training missions such as controlled assaults but also live, eat and sleep in these civilian areas.
The state line also is significant in the Robin Sage test, Kelly said.
“Additionally, Carter County is located on the Tennessee-North Carolina border. The state border provides a simulated international border crossing for Green Berets, who will likely encounter these kinds of situations in the real world,” Kelly wrote.
In North Carolina, the 26 Robin Sage areas include Wake County, Moore County, Lee County, Hoke County, Guilford County and Harnett County.
Following the completion of the two-week Robin Sage exercise, soldiers will graduate from the Special Forces Qualification Course training. From there, they move on to their first assignments in the Army Special Forces.
Robin Sage has been conducted since 1974. Carter County in Tennessee has been used at various times since 2008, but a review of recent exercises has not found the county included in the test.
For a realistic experience, the role-playing “unconventional warfare exercise” involves more than the Special Forces candidates. Military service members will act as “guerrilla freedom fighters,” Special Forces officials say.
Civilian volunteers usually also take part.
Fort Liberty military members act as realistic forces opposing the students and as guerrilla freedom fighters, also known as Pineland’s resistance movement.
The training mission exercises could include “controlled assaults” and “engagements” while soldiers train, eat, and sleep in the area.
Other North Carolina counties in this year’s Robin Sage are: Avery, Alamance, Anson, Bladen, Brunswick, Cabarrus, Chatham, Columbus, Cumberland, Davidson, Duplin, Montgomery, Randolph, Richmond, Robeson, Rowan, Sampson, Scotland, Stanly, and Union.
The Special Forces exam also takes place in the South Carolina counties of Chesterfield, Dillon and Marlboro.